Plenaries 2020


High mountain lakes in water resource management 

Henrietta Hampel, PhD., Aquatic Ecology Laboratory (LEA), University of Cuenca (UC), Ecuador

Available water for human use is dramatically decreasing due to inadequate distribution, contamination or climate change. Every country faces different water availability problems. Hence, developing countries are especially vulnerable to future changes in water availability due to social problems and lack of adequate water resource management, really based on scientific evidence. In this context, this lecture will give an overview of the complex problems of water resources management happening on Southern Ecuador and will depict the limnological studies of the lakes belonging to the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Cajas National Park (PNC). The study focuses on establishing baseline information on the hydromorphological, physical-chemical and biological characteristics of high mountain pristine lakes as well as on their functioning. This information may be later used in the future for local water resources management purposes.


The potential of floodplain restoration in large rivers

Thomas Hein, Florian Borgwardt, Elisabeth Bondar-Kunze, Daniel Trauner, Martin Tschikof, Andrea Funk

Large rivers with their floodplains are biodiversity hotspots and a key component in global matter cycles providing at the same time a multitude of ecosystem services that are vital for human societies. As many large rivers in the world, the Danube River is also by multiple human activities like navigation, hydropower, urban development or agriculture, making river-floodplain systems to one of the most threatened ecosystems worldwide. Thus, conservation and restoration of their biodiversity and ecosystem service provisioning is an important task, but challenging because of the diversity of human activities and policy targets (including WFD, Habitats and Birds Directive, Flood Risk Directive, Biodiversity Strategy or Green Infrastructure Strategy), scarcity of data compared to the complexity of the systems, heterogeneity of environmental problems and strong differences in socio-economic conditions along the Danube. Therefore, in this presentation we provide an overview on the status of Danubian floodplains, their biodiversity and their strategic importance at larger whole river network scales and present examples how combined assessment approaches for biodiversity and ecosystem services could support restoration planning and furthermore, the effect of implemented restoration measures on these floodplain properties. In future emerging issues such as climate change and invasive non-native species will need careful consideration in ecosystem management of floodplains to minimize unintended effects.


Urban bees

Hajnalka Szentgyörgyi, PhD, Institut of Botany, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

Humans change their environment since the dawn of civilization. First, farming activities led to significant changes of the landscape and the natural environment. Next, industrialization and urbanization created numerous unfriendly or even hazardous habitats for a number of organisms. However, lately urban environment is gaining wild life due to growing areas of urban greens, parks, and gardens, but also the lack of pesticides and the prolonged vegetational season compared to the surrounding non-urban habitats often rural-agricultural habitats. Species that are loosing their habitat due to intensive agricultural and industrial activities are finding a new home in urban environment. Among them are pollinators and especially bees. The lecture will describe why cities are becoming more and more bee and pollinator friendly compared to habitats outside the city. The pros and cons of urban habitats will be described, like air pollution or the presence of alien and often invasive species will be discussed. Also, possible solutions helping the creation of pollinator friendly urban habitats will be presented.