|1.1 Hydrologic Relationships 2|
|1.2 Ecological Relationships 3|
|1.3 Resource Use 4|
|1.4 Changing Emphasis of Riparian Management 6|
|1.5 Summary 7|
Riparian areas, situated in the interfaces between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, are located along the banks of rivers and perennial, intermittent and ephemeral streams and around the edges of lakes, ponds, springs, bogs and meadows. Riparian corridors are largely delineated by soil characteristics and by vegetative communities that require free or unbound water. The abruptness and extent of transitions between the terrestrial and aquatic interfaces that delineate the riparian areas are generally site specific. Transitions across terrestrial, riparian and aquatic ecosystems in the southwestern United States tend to be more abrupt than those in the more humid eastern United States (Figure 1.1).
Riparian areas occupy less than 2% of the total land area in the Southwest. However, these ecosystems are often the most productive and valuable of all of these lands. They are found in a wide range of climatic, hydrologic and ecological environments, from high-elevation montane forests through intermediate-elevation woodlands to low-elevation shrublands and desert grasslands (see Plate 1 in color insert following page 174). Major river drainages and tributaries supporting riparian ecosystems include the lower Colorado River from Lee's Ferry in northern Arizona
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