Climate and Environmental Change

Feasibility analysis of widely accepted indicators as key ones in river health assessment

  • Asian International Rivers Center, Yunnan University, Yunnan Key Lab of International Rivers and Transboundary Eco-security, Kunming 650091, China

Received date: 2011-06-02

  Revised date: 2011-07-10

  Online published: 2011-12-26

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40971091; Key project of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.U0936602; National Science and Technology Support Program, No.2011BAC09 B07


Index systems on river health assessment are difficult for using in practice, due to the more complex and professional indicators adopted. In the paper, some key indicators which can be applied for river health assessment in general were selected, based on the analysis of 45 assessment index systems with 902 variables within around 150 published papers and documents in 1972-2010. According to the fields covered by the variables, they were divided into four groups: habitat condition, water environment, biotic status and water utilization. The adopted number and the accepted degrees in the above systems of each indicator were calculated after the variables were combined into the indicators, some of the widely accepted indicators which can reflect different aspects of river condition were selected as key indicators in candidate. Under the correlation analysis amongst the key indicators in candidate, 8 indicators were finally suggested as the key indicators for assessing river health, which were: coverage rate of riparian vegetation, reserved rate of wetland, river continuity, the changing rate of water flow, the ratio of reaching water quality standard, fish index of biotic integrity, the ratio of water utilization and land use.

Cite this article

FENG Yan, KANG Bin, YANG Liping . Feasibility analysis of widely accepted indicators as key ones in river health assessment[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2012 , 22(1) : 46 -56 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-012-0910-9