Riverine ecosystems

Riverine ecosystems can be considered as the final link in the functional structure of the terrestrial environment, as they function as a sink and a vehicle for discharges from the mainland, which they pass on to the marine ecosystems.

Although the rivers themselves are only very marginal in terms of surface area, they do have an important indicator role for many processes in their catchment areas.

At the same time they are subjected to varied, sometimes very intensive use, ranging from sport and recreation via transport to the supply of cooling and feed-water for industry, the disposal of effluent and the provision of drinking water for millions of people.

The following sampling areas were chosen to represent riverine ecosystems.

Sampling area

Elbe Fourth largest river basin in Central Europe
Donau Second largest river in Europe
Rhein Longest river in Germany