Medium-term fluvial island evolution in a disturbed gravel-bed river (Piave River, Northeastern Italian Alps)

Picco, L., Mao, Luca, Rainato, R. and Lenzi, M.A. (2014) Medium-term fluvial island evolution in a disturbed gravel-bed river (Piave River, Northeastern Italian Alps). Geografiska Annaler, Series A: Physical Geography, 96 (1). pp. 83-97. ISSN 04353676

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River islands are defined as discrete areas of woodland vegetation surrounded by either water-filled channels or exposed gravel. They exhibit some stability and are not submerged during bank-full flows. The aim of the study is to analyze the dynamics of established, building, and pioneer islands in a 30-km-long reach of the gravel-bed Piave River, which has suffered from intense and multiple human impacts. Plan-form changes of river features since 1960 were analyzed using aerial photographs, and a LiDAR was used to derive the maximum, minimum and mean elevation of island surfaces, and maximum and mean height of their vegetation. The results suggest that established islands lie at a higher elevation than building and pioneer islands, and have a thicker layer of fine sediments deposited on their surface after big floods. After the exceptional flood in 1966 (RI>200 years) there was a moderate increase in island numbers and extension, followed by a further increase from 1991, due to a succession of flood events in 1993 and 2002 with RI>10 years, as well as a change in the human management relating to the control of gravel-mining activities. The narrowing trend (1960-1999) of the morphological plan form certainly enhanced the chance of islands becoming established and this explains the reduction of the active channel, the increase in established islands and reduction of pioneer islands.

Keywords:Gravel-bed rivers, Piave river, River islands
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F820 Geomorphology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
ID Code:32717
Deposited On:25 Jul 2018 09:08

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