Salinisation of rivers: An urgent ecological issue

Miguel Canedo-Arguelles, Ben Kefford, Christophe Piscart, Narcís Prat, R Schäfer, Claus-Jürgen Schulz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Secondary salinisation of rivers and streams is a global and growing threat that might be amplified by climate change. It can have many different causes, like irrigation, mining activity or the use of salts as deicing agents for roads. Freshwater organisms only tolerate certain ranges of water salinity. Therefore secondary salinisation has an impact at the individual, population, community and ecosystem levels, which ultimately leads to a reduction in aquatic biodiversity and compromises the goods and services that rivers and streams provide. Management of secondary salinization should be directed towards integrated catchment strategies (e.g. benefiting from the dilution capacity of the rivers) and identifying threshold salt concentrations to preserve the ecosystem integrity. Future research on the interaction of salinity with other stressors and the impact of salinization on trophic interactions and ecosystem properties is needed and the implications of this issue for human society need to be seriously considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)157-167
    Number of pages11
    JournalEnvironmental Pollution
    Volume173
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Keywords

    • Climate change.
    • Irrigation
    • Mining
    • Osmoregulation
    • River salinisation
    • Road salt
    • Salinity tolerance
    • Secondary salinisation

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  • Cite this

    Canedo-Arguelles, M., Kefford, B., Piscart, C., Prat, N., Schäfer, R., & Schulz, C-J. (2013). Salinisation of rivers: An urgent ecological issue. Environmental Pollution, 173, 157-167. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2012.10.011