Small river ecosystems | WWF

Small river ecosystems

The Mississippi River embayment, the Mobile River basin, and numerous coastal streams and rivers of southeastern North America together support one of the Earth's richest temperate freshwater biotas1).
The headwater streams and rivers of the Yangtze River in central China are also extremely diverse (recognized as a large river major habitat type in this analysis)2). Secondary centers of temperate diversity occur in the rivers and streams of southeastern North America, the western coast of North America, and the Russian Far East3).

Several freshwater biotas on islands are highly distinctive, including those of Madagascar, New Guinea, the Greater Sundas, the Greater Antilles, Sri Lanka, and New Caledonia4). The Southwest Australian Rivers and streams ecoregion is a center of endemism, while also harboring a number of primitive higher taxa and several species with highly unusual freshwater life histories5).

Rivers and streams along the Gulf of Guinea harbor some of the richest and most endemic riverine freshwater biotas in Africa6). The Salween River in Vietnam is recognized for its rich and endemic freshwater fish fauna7).

In this habitat are the following ecoregions:

(161) Upper Guinea Rivers and Streams
(162) Madagascar Freshwater
(163) Gulf of Guinea Rivers and Streams
(164) Cape Rivers and Streams

(165) New Guinea Rivers and Streams
(166) New Caledonia Rivers and Streams
(167) Kimberley Rivers and Streams
(168) Southwest Australia Rivers and Streams
(169) Eastern Australia Rivers and Streams

(170) Xi Jiang Rivers and Streams
(171) Western Ghats Rivers and Streams
(172) Southwestern Sri Lanka Rivers and Streams
(173) Salween River
(174) Sundaland Rivers and Swamps

(175) Southeastern Rivers and Streams
(176) Pacific Northwest Coastal Rivers and Streams
(177) Gulf of Alaska Coastal Rivers and Streams

(178) Guianan Freshwater
(179) Greater Antillean Freshwater

(180) Balkan Rivers and Streams
(181) Russian Far East Rivers and Wetlands

1) Hocutt & Wiley 1986, Hackney et al. 1992, Abell et al. 2000
2) Mori 1936, Nicholls 1943, Taki 1975

3) Zhadin & Gerd 1961, Lee et al. 1980, Hocutt & Wiley 1986, Abell et al. 2000
4) IUCN/UNEP/WWF 1987, Zakaria-Ismail 1987, 1994, Allen 1991, Preston-Mafham 1991, Oberdorff et al. 1995
5) McDowall 1996, State of the Environment Advisory Council 1996
6)Kingdon 1989, Lévêque et al. 1992, Thieme et al. in prep.
7)WCMC 1998

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