Sociogeomorphic river recovery: integrating human and physical processes in rehabilitation

Simon Mould*, Kirstie Fryirs, Richie Howitt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


River rehabilitation framed within a recovery-enhancement approach uses an understanding of river morphology, behavior and trajectory as a basis for improving river condition. On-ground rehabilitation activities commonly involve strategic, passive interventions, such as vegetation plantings, targeted weed
management and livestock exclusion. However, in addition to the biophysical processes that are driving river recovery, human processes can also enhance or constrain possibilities for recovery. These include direct interactions (e.g. land use change) and indirect interactions (e.g. institutional conditions and relational
issues). This paper examines relationships between human and physical geomorphic) processes in river recovery through the lens of sociogeomorphology, which recognises that physical and social processes are
simultaneously produced by – and producing – rivers, with on-ground smplications for river recovery. River recovery in a southeast Australian case study is placed in context of its historical and contemporary human environment interactions, including formal and informal relationships that shape river recovery trajectories. Recognition of relationships between human and physical processes, through a sociogeomorphic perspective, leads to an integrative understanding of the river system, its history and potential future trajectories of river recovery. For river management planning, this presents an opportunity to recognise and enhance existing physical and human recovery processes to achieve the best possible outcomes for river health and the ecosystems they support.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th Australian Stream Management Conference, 12–15 August 2018, Hobart, Tasmania
EditorsGeoff J. Vietz, Ian D. Rutherfurd
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Victoria
PublisherRiver Basin Management Society
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780734054555
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAustralian Stream Management Conference (9th : 2018) - Hobart, Australia
Duration: 12 Aug 201815 Aug 2018
Conference number: 9th


ConferenceAustralian Stream Management Conference (9th : 2018)
Internet address


  • Bottom-up approach
  • catchment management
  • environmental history
  • Macdonald River
  • participation
  • recovery-based river rehabilitation
  • recovery potential
  • trajectories

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