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2011 Mayo | Agua-Info: Información y Conocimiento del Agua y el Ambiente para el Desarrollo

Agua-Info: Información y Conocimiento del Agua y el Ambiente para el Desarrollo

proyecto@aguainfo.net, marco.morales75@gmail.com

Zona de ribera de ríos: conceptos (02)

Se ha presentado ya la primera de las 3 partes acerca de los “conceptos de la zona de ribera”, en donde se ha descrito el origen de las múltiples definiciones y se señaló lo concerniente a la “Zona de Ribera”: http://www.aguainfo.com/?p=180

En esta segunda parte se revisarán los conceptos relacionados con “Paisaje de Ribera” y “Ecosistema de Ribera”, que permite descubrir la diversidad de perspectivas espaciales y funcionales que existen alrededor de las riberas.

2. Paisaje de ribera

Malanson (1993) examina los sistemas ecológicos del margen del río y la llanura de inundación desde la perspectiva de la ecología del paisaje, define el Paisaje de Ribera (del inglés “riparian landscape”) como el espacio en el que se producen las interacciones entre sus componentes bióticos y abióticos. Indica su diversidad en cuanto a estructura y función entre regiones como respuesta a los mismos factores primarios.

Estudiando la estructura del paisaje se pueden encontrar diversas ecorregiones (zonas geográficas que representan grupos geográficos o asociaciones de ecosistemas funcionales semejantes) relacionadas con diversos tipos de paisajes fluviales. Según Malanson (1993) son siete tipos de paisajes de ribera: bosques de galería en áreas semiáridas y áridas; bosques tropicales; bosques subtropicales de la llanura de inundación; bosques caducifolios húmedos; transición bosque-pastizal y pastizal; montañas; taiga y tundra. Dicha clasificación del paisaje de ribera es una referencia obligada para comprender los distintos tipos de bosque de ribera que existen asociados a diversas climatologías.

A continuación se coloca un link hacia un Video que permite mostrar imágenes de un bosque de ribera de montaña, ubicado a más de 2000 metros sobre el nivel del mar en la Sierra de las Minas:

Bosque de ribera en zona de montaña de la Sierra de las Minas, Guatemala

3. Ecosistema de ribera

El mayor enfoque del concepto está dado para zona de ribera de ríos, entendiendo al Ecosistema de ribera como la unión compleja de organismos y su ambiente adyacente y cercano al flujo de agua (Lowrance et al, 1985; Naiman et al, 2005) o, simplemente, aquellos ecosistemas adyacentes al río (Malanson, 1993). Con una visión más funcional, Gregory et al. (1991) proponen la definición del Ecosistema de Ribera para enfocarse en los vínculos ecológicos producidos en esta interfaz entre ecosistemas terrestres y acuáticos dentro del contexto de los procesos geomorfológicos y dinámica fluvial que los crean. Dicha perspectiva se refleja en el trabajo de simulación de procesos ecológicos de la ribera del modelo “Riparian ecosystem management model, REMM” (Altier et al, 2002; Inamdar et al, 1999; Lowrance et al, 1998).

Foto, M. Morales 2008

Bosque de ribera en río Uyús, Guatemala. Transición entre pie de monte y valle.

La definición funcional es generalmente la más ampliamente utilizada, debido a que refleja los procesos e interacciones que toman lugar entre el paisaje terrestre y el río; asimismo es la definición que más se acerca a los múltiples objetivos de los planes de manejo de la ribera (Lovett y Huggan, 1998).

Otro aporte importante lo hacen Brookes y Shields (2001), al mencionar que durante el Congreso Nacional de Investigación de los Estados Unidos de 1992 se recomendó hablar de “riverine-riparian ecosystem” tanto para ríos grandes como para pequeños y “stream-riparian ecosystem” en relación a pequeños arroyos en donde las inundaciones son tan breves que los organismos acuáticos no han desarrollado adaptaciones para explotar la zona ribereña.

Los ecosistemas de ribera son simbólicos de los cambios de paisaje a gran escala dada su sensibilidad al régimen fluvial, y porque son la última expresión de las interacciones con el agua superficial y subterránea. Los cambios a largo plazo que se dan en su vegetación arbórea es quizás lo menos entendido de este ecosistema (Webb y Leake, 2006). También se les estudia con base en escalas temporales de minutos o más grandes (Gregory et al, 1991).

REFERENCIAS BIBLIOGRÁFICAS

  • Altier, L.S.; Lowrance, R.; Williams, R.G.; Inamdar, S.P.; Bosch, D.D.; Sheridan, J.M.; Hubbard, R.K.; Thomas, D.L. 2002. Riparian Ecosystem Management Model: simulator for ecological processes in riparian zones. USDA, Conservation Research Report 46. 216 p.
  • Brookes, A.; Shields, F (Eds). 2001. River channel restoration: guiding principles for sustainable projects. John Wiley & Sons. 433 p.
  • Gregory, S.V.; Swanson, F.; McKee, A.; Cummins, K. 1991. An ecosystem perspective of riparian zones. BioScience 41, 540–550.
  • Inamdar, S.P.; Sheridan, J.M.; Williams, R.G.; Bosch, D.D.; Lowrance, R.R.; Altier, L.S.; Thomas, D.L. 1999. Riparian ecosystem management model (REMM): I. Testing of the hydrologic component for a coastal plain riparian system. American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Vol 42(6): 1679-1689.
  • Lovett, S.; Huggan, H. (Eds). 1998. Riparian zones: what are they? Australia, LWRRDC, Issue 11, December 1998. 19 p.
  • Lowrance, R.; Leonard, R.; Sheridan, J. 1985. Managing riparian ecosystems to control nonpoint pollution. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 40(1): 87-91.
  • Lowrance, R.; Altier, L.; Williams, R.; Inambar, S.; Bosch, D.; Sheridan, J.; Thomas, D.; Hubbard, R. 1998. The riparian ecosystem management model: simulator for ecological processes in buffer systems. In: Proceedings of the First Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference, Las Vegas NV. p. 1-81 a 1-88.
  • Malanson, G.P., 1993. Riparian Landscapes. Cambridge University Press.
  • Naiman, R. J.; Décamps, H.; McClain, M.E. 2005. Riparia: ecology, conservation, and management of streamside communities. Elsevier, Academic Press, UK. 430 p.
  • Webb, R.H.; Leake, S.A. 2006. Ground-water surface-water interactions and long-term change in riverine riparian vegetation in the southwestern United States. Journal of Hydrology 320 (2006) 302–323.
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