Successional changes in the soft-water macrophyte vegetation of (sub)atlantic, sandy, lowland regions during this century


Dr G. Van der Velde, Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Catholic University of Nijmegen. Toernooiveld. 6525 ED Nijmegen. the Netherlands.



  • 1 Considerable changes in macrophyte vegetation can be noticed in 146 originally soft waters, when data on the recent aquatic vegetation are compared with historical information from the period 1900–60. Changes in nutrient status (N, P and C) and accumulation of organic material can be regarded as the operative factors.
  • 2 The processes observed in soft waters are acidification, eutrophication and water hardening. Which process dominates depends on the type of soft water.
  • 3 Acidification as well as eutrophication of water bodies may ultimately result in the total disappearance of all aquatic macrophytes, with the exception of the floating-leaved nymphaeids Nymphaea alba L. and Nuphar lutea (L.) Sm. Observed successional stages are described and summarized.