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Keywords:

  • conservation;
  • freshwater springs;
  • management;
  • protection;
  • restoration

Abstract

  • 1.
    Direct and indirect utilization of coldwater springs produces a wide variety of benefits to human societies around the world, but this resource use may also be associated with significant costs to the environment, including biodiversity loss and deterioration of water quality. Despite the importance of springs little attention has been paid to their management and conservation.
  • 2.
    This review article draws on international literature and results from recent research on springs in New Zealand, to highlight the characteristic features of springs, identify the main human threats to their integrity, and review spring management strategies. The principal aim of the paper is to provide a management framework that can facilitate the protection, enhancement and restoration of springs.
  • 3.
    A key element in the management and conservation of springs is recognition of their position at the interface of three distinct ecosystems — groundwater, surface water and terrestrial. Human impacts on all three contributing ecosystems can have significant effects on spring habitat integrity.
  • 4.
    Effective management of springs must recognize the full range of environmental and societal values associated with them, understanding threats to the sustainability of these values and formulating strategies that provide a balance between potentially conflicting uses. As with any management strategy, the clear definition of management goals for springs is a precursor to effective conservation, protection and restoration.

Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.