Ecosystem services (ES) derive from spatially structured ecosystems across landscapes and gains/losses of ES rely on ecosystem dynamics over time (Lavorel et al., 2017).
Thus, quantification and prediction of ES of riparian systems call for a spatially comprehensive ecology.
Main purpose of this first activity (A1) of the project is to identify, map and characterize riparian forests, land use and land cover (LULC) of rivers impaired by two representative types of dam operations in Portugal: run-of-river dam (Touvedo in River Lima), and reservoirs with regulation capacity (Fronhas in River Alva). Benchmarks, i.e., a minimum impaired referential at closely similar river basins will be also characterized.


Vegetation changes will be derived using airborne images from 1965 (pre-dam date) and from 2013 (Post-dam date). The carbon sequestration (tC/ha/year) will be calculated using the land-use land-cover alterations as a surrogate of the carbon stock variations in the riparian zone, in the two case-studies.  The carbon stocks benchmarks will be applied in similar and homogenous riparian areas, identified in the contemporaneous field surveys. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV or drone) technology, offers very high spatial mapping of relatively large riparian areas (Dunford et al., 2009). UAV technology (also called eco-drones in this context) is able to quantify vegetation units, assess the composition and integrity of complex canopies, identify ecological succession stages, and is able to classify and quantify LULC in detail, and can provide Digitalized Elevation Models. Cover of all woody species will be estimated for each sampling unit at every meters’ increment in a perpendicular transect that ran across the entire floodplains and stored in a GIS. Field forms will be elaborated to include qualitative and quantitative information on vegetation attributes and habitat.