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Stream vegetation and pollution in Italy and Mediterranean France. 1984. Second International Symposium on Environmental Pollution and its Impact on Life in the Mediterranean Region. Second International Symposium of the Mediterranean Scientific Association of Environmental Protection (MESAEP), pp. 19—91. Munich.


INTRODUCTION

Watercourses (rivers, drainage channels, etc.) were surveyed in mainland Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and the part of mainland France near the Mediterranean, during an EEC-wide survey of watercourse vegetation. Some 3,000 site records were obtained from this Mediterranean region, comprising both well-vegetated reaches and summer-dry streams, etc. (see Haslam & Wolseley, 1981 for survey methods). Pollution investigations formed part of this project: the overall distribution of pollution, the manner in which pollution damages watercourse vegetation, and the use of the vegetation in assessing and monitoring vegetation.

River vegetation provides cover, substrate and food for many river animals. It is also aesthetically pleasing (and this value is often not realised until the vegetation has been lost). Damage to vegetation is therefore not only damaging to the macrophytes (larger plants), it may also lessen animal populations (including fish), and lessen the beauty of the area.