Globally, rivers systems are under considerable and increasing threat from multiple anthropogenic stresses, including different types of direct (e.g. channel engineering) and indirect human impacts (e.g. land cover and land use changes) that alter water and sediment dynamics. (Dis)connectivity relationships determine the source, timing and rates of water and sediment flux in catchments and thus their geomorphic sensitivity to disturbance. However, most river and catchment management plans overlook the role of sediment (dis)connectivity. Here we use examples from different environmental settings with different sediment-related problems to show how understandings of sediment (dis)connectivity can inform catchment-based management plans. We focus on concerns for river conservation and recovery, using examples from Austria, New Zealand and Australia. Finally, we present questions for practitioners to consider to appropriately contextualise management applications when using (dis)connectivity concepts in practice. Our findings revealed that differences in sediment (dis)connectivity relationships exert profound catchment-specific variability in (eco)-geomorphic response to disturbance. Understanding (dis)connectivity and system history is therefore essential to forecast the effects of on-ground management actions.
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- River management
- River recovery
- Sediment budget
- Sediment dynamics