River Channel Changes: Retrospect and Prospect

  1. J. D. Collinson and
  2. J. Lewin
  1. Edward J. Hickin

Published Online: 29 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444303773.ch5

Modern and Ancient Fluvial Systems

Modern and Ancient Fluvial Systems

How to Cite

Hickin, E. J. (1983) River Channel Changes: Retrospect and Prospect, in Modern and Ancient Fluvial Systems (eds J. D. Collinson and J. Lewin), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444303773.ch5

Author Information

  1. Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 7 FEB 1983

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632009978

Online ISBN: 9781444303773



  • present-day channel processes;
  • river channel changes - retrospect and prospect;
  • channel equilibrium and timescales;
  • theory of equilibrium channel morphology;
  • regime theory and hydraulic geometry;
  • complex channel response


This paper reviews some of the major developments in the study of channel changes during this century and offers comment on the direction of future research. Topics addressed include the relation of channel equilibrium to time-scale, the process relations of the formal theory of equilibrium channel-morphology, regime theory and hydraulic geometry, complex channel response, human-induced channel adjustments, and channel changes of the Holocene and Pleistocene. It is argued that our perspective on the fluvial system would benefit greatly from research focused on channel changes during the last several hundred years rather than for shorter or longer time-scales.