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Tropical Asian Streams

Tropical Asian Streams: Zoobenthos, Ecology and Conservation

David Dudgeon
Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 844
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  • Book Info
    Tropical Asian Streams
    Book Description:

    This book deals with the ecology of rivers and streams in the Oriental Region, and describes the composition of their unique fauna - especially the diverse array of animals which live on and among the bottom sediments. Dichotomous keys are provided as an aid to the identification of these animals, and the book is illustrated by over 100 pages of line drawings and maps. Special emphasis is given to the impact of human activities on streams and rivers, and the book concludes with a discussion of conservation and management options for these endangered habitats.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-296-2
    Subjects: Aquatic Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    We know surprisingly little about the ecology of tropical freshwaters in general, and tropical Asian rivers and streams in particular. This is despite the dependence of humans, livestock and agriculture upon streams and rivers in a region which is poor in natural lakes. The reliance is increased by the monsoonal climate of much of tropical Asia: rainfall and hence stream-flow patterns are strongly seasonal with marked wet and dry seasons. As a result, the region experiences periods of drought and water scarcity interspersed by times of plenitude when damaging floods may occur. This pattern has spurred attempts to regulate or...

  5. 2 Scope
    (pp. 7-12)

    In 1984, the Brazilian limnologist J.G. Tundisi wrote of the general perception that our knowledge of tropical freshwaters was far less than was required to understand the mechanisms and processes operating in these ecosystems (Tundisi, 1984). It is certainly less than is desirable and needed for their proper conservation and management (Williams, 1988; 1994). A perennial obstacle to tropical research, Tundisi asserted, was difficulty in obtaining even the basic literature. He exhorted colleagues to disseminate information in the form of reviews and critical syntheses on a regional basis. Such regional syntheses could deal with systematics, biological processes, and ecosystem functioning...

  6. 3 Ecological Overview
    (pp. 13-92)

    The countries of tropical Asia have extensive freshwater resources (summarized by Ali et at., 1987) which are being used increasingly for development purposes. Jalal (1987) records that Bangladesh has over 50 important rivers; India, 400; Indonesia, 200; and Thailand, 10. Six of the longest rivers in the world are found in the region: the Chang Jiang, Mekong, Indus, Brahmaputra, Ganges and Irrawaddy (Table 3.1). There is one estimate that over 80% of sediment transported in the rivers all over the world comes from Asian rivers (including the Palaearctic Huang Ho; Jalal, 1987), although Degens et at. (1991) suggest that the...

  7. 4 The Zoobenthos: A Systematic Review
    (pp. 93-518)

    This book is concerned particularly with the zoobenthic invertebrate communities of tropical Asian streams. Microscopic forms are not considered, and the focus is on macroinvertebrates defined broadly as animals with body length ≥ 0.5 mm which would be retained by a net of 200 μm mesh size. They can be divided informally into two large groups: the lower and the higher invertebrates. The category ‘lower invertebrates’ includes all invertebrates except molluscs and arthropods, and is less speciose than the ‘higher’ grouping. For convenience, my treatment of the zoobenthos will begin with a key to the major groups of lotic macroinvertebrates....

  8. 5 Anthropogenic Threats
    (pp. 519-576)

    Human influences on tropical Asian rivers are all-pervasive, and reflect the development of ancient civilizations around the great Asian rivers — for example, the Harappa and Mohenjodaro cultures along the banks of the Indus — coupled with increasing use of the region’s extensive freshwater resources (summarized by Ali et al., 1987). There are now probably no large, tropical Asian rivers in pristine condition (Hynes, 1989), and a map of the extent of pollution in the region would have to include most of the major rivers (Fig. 5.1). Generally, we do not know what these rivers were like in their original state. Studies...

  9. 6 Experimental Design and Detection of Anthropogenic Impacts in Streams
    (pp. 577-596)

    Our ability to predict and ameliorate or mitigate the effects of human activities on stream and rivers depends upon an understanding of the ecology of these systems. If we do not know what the ecological ‘rules of existence’ might be for the biota of tropical Asian rivers and streams, we are in no position to formulate the conservation and management strategies required to ensure habitat integrity and maintain biodiversity. There is also a need to apply existing information and research strengths in the most appropriate manner, and in the context of an appropriate legal framework which will deal effectively with...

  10. 7 Process-Orientated Studies in Stream Ecology
    (pp. 597-610)

    Assessment of environmental impacts is an important part of the activities of many stream biologists, but empirical studies of impacts need to be buttressed by process-orientated studies that investigate the mechanisms underlying the changes caused by the impact. Obviously, if we are to make well-founded predictions of the effects of anthropogenic activities, we need to understand the processes and mechanisms by which stream ecosystems are structured. We may never understand stream ecosystem structure and function fully, but this should not prevent us from identifying the priority areas in which knowledge of underlying mechanisms (or even identification of fundamental patterns) is...

  11. 8 Concluding Remarks
    (pp. 611-616)

    Even if the research strategies advocated in Chapters 6 and 7 of this book were taken up by biologists, stream conservation will be possible only when they are combined with a move beyond the bailiwick of science into the political arena. If they are to succeed, ecologically-viable management strategies for tropical Asian streams must take account of socioeconomic contexts; in particular, the pressure of increasing human populations and the desire for economic growth which drive development and urbanization. While the 1997 depression of Asian economies may slow growth temporarily, it will do nothing to lessen the forces driving such growth....

  12. References
    (pp. 617-776)
  13. Subject lndex
    (pp. 777-788)
  14. Organism Index
    (pp. 789-830)