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Keywords:

  • SERCON;
  • River conservation evaluation;
  • Naturalness;
  • Water Framework Directive

Abstract

  • 1.
    System for Evaluating Rivers for Conservation (SERCON) is a method for defining river conservation value in which river features and the impacts on river systems are assigned scores. Information on each attribute is used to create a picture of a river in terms of traditional conservation criteria such as Naturalness, Species Richness, and Rarity.
  • 2.
    Following a comprehensive review of the first version of SERCON the system has now been redesigned. The most significant changes in SERCON 2 include closer links with River Habitat Survey (RHS), increased data availability, new methods for classifying land-use, soils, and water quality, amendments to species protection legislation and, in some cases, a new approach to some of the underlying principles.
  • 3.
    The main structural difference is the combination of most of the species attributes in the criteria of Naturalness and Representativeness. Representativeness constitutes an assessment of ‘goodness of fit’ against some form of typology, and at present can only be assessed for aquatic macrophytes.
  • 4.
    Major improvements to the software are planned for SERCON 2, including the facility to store and analyse raw data, together with procedures for automated calculation. The feasibility of creating a linked RHS/SERCON application is under investigation.
  • 5.
    In response to the need for a simplified version of SERCON, a series of ‘SERCON Applications’ has been designed based on the flexible grouping of fewer SERCON attributes when a complete appraisal is not required. This allows a more targeted approach to river evaluation and will help to meet the needs of specific user groups.
  • 6.
    By setting rivers in their wider nature conservation context SERCON can contribute to the EC Habitats Directive and the EC Water Framework Directive, thereby increasing the benefits of both Directives to river conservation and management.

Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.