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Gravel-bed river floodplains are the ecological nexus of glaciated mountain landscapes

Science Advances Vol 2, No. 6 03 June 2016

// Featured Image Gravel-bed river floodplains are the ecological nexus of glaciated mountain landscapes

In the glaciated regions of the Rocky Mountains, essentially from the Yellowstone area in northwestern Wyoming, United States, to Yukon, Canada, gravel-bed rivers are disproportionately important to regional biodiversity and to landscape-scale ecological integrity. Research conducted in this mountain region, across a wide variety of fields in ecology and diverse taxa, has highlighted the importance of these gravel-bed rivers to an unexpectedly high proportion of the region’s aquatic, avian, and terrestrial species. Although gravel-bed river floodplains play a disproportionately important role in sustaining native plant and animal biodiversity, they have also been disproportionately affected by human infrastructure and activities.

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