A conceptual model of riparian forest restoration for natural flood management

Simon J. Dixon*, David A. Sear, Keith H. Nislow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
288 Downloads (Pure)


There is an increasing emphasis on using natural processes, including riparian forest restoration, to enhance the ecological, hydrological and geomorphological functioning of watercourses. However, we have insufficient knowledge on how the supply and retention of in-channel wood from riparian forest stands changes with age, with inferences typically based on data from terrestrial forests. This presents a challenge in estimating the efficacy and functional lifespan of restoration projects. In this paper, we use a riparian forest growth model to show there is a lag of up to 40–50 years between the start of forest growth and trees delivering wood to the channel that is large enough to resist fluvial transport, anchor logjams and so increase channel complexity and hydraulic resistance. Resource managers need to account for realistic timescales over which changes promoted by riparian woodland restoration will occur and may need to consider using interim engineered logjams as the forest develops.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWater and Environment Journal
Early online date22 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Oct 2018


  • ecohydrology
  • forest
  • large wood
  • natural flood management
  • restoration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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