Original paper

Bryofloristic evaluation of the ecological status of Madeiran streams: towards the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive in Macaronesia

Luís, Leena; Hughes, Samantha Jane; Sim-Sim, Manuela

Abstract

The EU Water Framework Directive legislates for sustainable, catchment level water management across the European Union. Principal goals of the Directive are that water bodies achieve Good status by 2015 and the use of biological quality elements in routine monitoring of surface water bodies. The bryophytes form a significant biotic component of riparian systems and can be associated with particular environmental conditions. Detailed studies on riparian Macaronesian bryophytes are lacking, in particular on the island of Madeira. This study outlines associations between within-stream bryophytes and key physicochemical water parameters in the streams of Madeira island. Bryofloristic characterization, results of ecological status and conservation interest of the habitats from Madeira's principal streams, describing possible measures for the sustainable management of these areas are covered. Bryophytes were found to be effective bioindicators of water quality in these unique Macaronesian riparian habitats and suitable biological quality elements for WFD compliant biomonitoring programmes.