The temporal and social dimensions of river rehabilitation: towards a multi-dimensional research perspective.
Lenders, H. J. R.; Knippenberg, L.
The three physical dimensions of river functioning (longitudinal, transversal and vertical) are scientifically acknowledged key features of river systems. In addition, this paper deals with two less tangible, but at least equally important dimensions: the temporal or fourth dimension, representing short- and long-term changes and dynamics, and the social or fifth dimension, including issues like cultural identity and various positions humans may hold towards nature. It is argued that these additional dimensions are essential for understanding rivers in their full context and to comprehend possibilities and constraints for river rehabilitation. Multi- or interdisciplinary research, explicitly including these additional dimensions, is needed to optimize river management in order to safeguard (culture-bound) ecological values and to guarantee public support. For this purpose, two conceptual models are presented that may serve as frameworks of interdisciplinary research programs.