›› 2013, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (5): 775-792.doi: 10.1007/s11442-013-1044-4

• Special Research on Sanjiangyuan • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Geodiversity in the Yellow River source zone

Brendon BLUE1, Gary BRIERLEY1, YU Guo-an2   

  1. 1. School of Environment, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand;
    2. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2012-09-22 Revised:2012-10-30 Online:2013-10-15 Published:2013-10-15
  • About author:Brendon Blue, Ph.D Candidate, specialized in geography and fluvial geomorphology. E-mail: b.blue@auckland.ac.nz
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41001008; International Science & Technology Cooperation Program of China, No.2011DFG93160; No.2011DFA20820


It is a key premise of ‘ecosystem approaches' to natural resources management that we must have an appropriate understanding of biodiversity values, and controls upon them, if we wish to manage them effectively. These biodiversity values, and associated ecosystem functionality, vary with space and time and are tied directly to landscape-scale relationships and evolutionary traits. In riverine systems, nested hierarchical principles provide a useful platform to assess relationships between landscape components across a range of scales. These understandings are most instructively synthesized through catchment-scale analyses. This paper outlines a rationale for systematic catchment-wide appraisals of river geodiversity. An initial application of these principles is presented for the Yellow River source zone in Qinghai Province, western China. Geo-ecological relationships are outlined for five broad sections of the trunk stream, highlighting implications for the management of these individual landscape compartments and for the system as a whole.

Key words: geodiversity, river classification, anabranching, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Sanjiangyuan, Yellow River source zone