INHABIT project

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Home The INHABIT project Overview of key concepts Some hotspots among project results

Some hotspots among project results

  • The importance of habitat in structuring biological communities and in establishing accuracy of ecological quality assessment systems. INHABIT project has demonstrated how habitats are key elements in the evaluation of alterations of water bodies (Deliverable I3d2). It has also highlighted the role of habitat characteristics in the quantification of natural variability, and in the improvement of the accuracy of classification systems, by introducing the potentially crucial role played, in rivers, by the lentic-lotic character (Deliverable I3d1).

  • Reference conditions, river typology and heavily modified water bodies: the input of the project to some key issues of the national environmental legislation. INHABIT project has provided some important elements for the validation of river reference sites (I1d4) and for modelling lake reference conditions (D1d3), the biological soundness of river typization and relative critical elements for Mediterranean area and indications for the definition of the ecological potential in heavily modified water bodies (I3d2). 

  • Results of the quantification of nutrient retention in rivers. INHABIT project showed very clearly the importance of transient storage areas, i.e. specific river habitats identified with a physical feature, related to flow velocity, that encapsulate multiple attributes - both physical and biological. In other words, it is evident that many characteristics defining river habitats may represent crucial factors able to control the extent of the transient storage areas. Habitat characteristics appear to profoundly affect not only the biological community, but also nutrients dynamics and, in particular, retention efficiency of ammonia and orthophosphate (Deliverable I2d2 and I2d3).

  • Environmental benefits derived from INHABIT project results. Expected environmental benefits related to the results of INHABIT project are mainly related to the improvement of the options for the management of surface water bodies, which will be enhanced by taking into account habitat related issues. The project has provided a range of tools and options allowing a more effective achievement of WFD environmental objectives (Deliverable I3d4). Some of the most significant environmental benefits deriving from INHABIT project can be summarized as follows:
    • Optimization of monitoring activities for rivers and lakes.
    • Activation and / or integration of a simultaneous collection of habitat and biological data.
    • Optimization of restoration measures in relation to the tools provided for the evaluation of measures efficacy.
    • Optimization of cost effectiveness of restoration practices, in terms of ecological status.
    • Identification of innovative measures to restore river and lake habitats.
    • Support to quantifying river ecological flow (e-flows) to obtain Good/High Ecological Status, using habitat descriptors e.g. the lentic-lotic character of rivers, and their relation to biological communities.