Use of coir rolls for habitat enhancement of urban river walls
Hoggart, Simon P. G.; Francis, Robert A.
published: Oct 1, 2014
ArtNo. ESP141018501003, Price: 29.00 €
Heavily engineered urban rivers suffer from a lack of riparian habitat that compromises the diversity and composition of plant assemblages that could exist within such ecosystems. Ecological engineering techniques may be a valuable way of facilitating a greater range of species to exist on artificial surfaces such as flood defence walls, where other habitat enhancement opportunities are severely limited. The first step in determining the applicability of wall modifications is to establish what the potential species pool might be. In this study, coir seed traps were established at 12 sites along the River Thames through central London to determine the diversity and composition of the seeds deposited in comparison to those species spontaneously colonising the walls. Limited similarity (47 % overall, mean of 20 % per site) of species was recorded, indicating that there is substantial opportunity for improvement of the wall flora if suitable habitat could be provided. Coir acted as effective seed traps, though deposition was influenced by trap height on the wall surface and distance downstream. Coir may therefore act as an effective medium for seed trapping and germination within particular environmental boundaries, for the improvement of flood defence walls using ecological engineering modifications.