Characterising riverine landscapes: history, application and future challenges

Victoria Milner, David Gilvear, Martin Thoms

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter reviews the history, application and future challenges of river classification. It advocates river characterisation/classification should not simply improve the understanding of patterns and processes, but also extend the knowledge of river science both conceptually and theoretically and be applicable within an interdisciplinary domain. Specifically, the chapter identifies a chronology of geomorphic-based river system characterisation into four distinct periods: the pioneer, the consolidation, application and the river science phase. The chronology of geomorphic-based river system characterisation highlights a trend from bottom-up, constructivist approaches to top-down, reductionist approaches within river characterisation/ classification. Examples of river characterisation/classification approaches used for science and management applications that typify the latter phase are described. Finally, the chapter identifies the future challenges facing river characterisations/classifications, emphasises the importance of spatiotemporal scales and the value of using remote sensing technologies, and discusses future priorities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRiver Science
Subtitle of host publicationResearch and Management for the 21st Century
EditorsDavid J. Gilvear, Malcolm T. Greenwood, Martin C. Thoms, Paul J. Wood
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781118643525, 9781118643501
ISBN (Print)9781119994343
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes

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