Human impact on land–ocean sediment transfer by the world's rivers (D.E. Walling)
Author: 系统管理员Source: Updated: 2007-12-14

Land–ocean transfer of sediment by rivers is a key pathway for material transfer on Earth. Contemporary data on the sediment loads of rivers provide clear evidence of significant recent changes in the sediment fluxes of several rivers in response to human impact. The key drivers of increased sediment loads include land clearance for agriculture and other facets of land surface disturbance, including logging activity and mining. Although, programmes for soil conservation and sediment control can result in reduced sediment loads, the trapping of sediment by dams represents the dominant cause of reduced loads. This influence is currently assuming increasing importance at the global scale. Any attempt to link these drivers to changes in the global land–ocean sediment flux must take account of the aggregation and buffering effects that operate in larger basins, which can cause damping and even removal of signals of increasing flux within the upstream basin, and complicate the link between upstream and downstream response to human impact. Further work is required to provide a precise quantitative assessment of the human impact on global land–ocean sediment fluxes and the net effect of increasing and decreasing fluxes. Particular attention must be paid to the temporal perspective and the variation of impact trajectories in different areas of the globe and for river basins of different sizes.

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