Riparian vegetation comprises plant communities that grow laterally to rivers and streams. They have multiple adaptations, which allows them to persist in these variable and dynamic habitats. This chapter focuses on the morphological and anatomical adaptations of vegetative organs, due to the fact that they are more vulnerable to environmental changes that occur in riparian ecosystems. We also discuss some dispersal mechanisms in riparian species exposed to flooding conditions. Most morphoanatomical adaptations in riparian plants reflect constraints imposed by long periods of waterlogging or complete submergence, as well as the high diversity of strategies that species have developed in order to cope with flooding. Furthermore, riparian ecosystems are being impacted by an increasing artificialization of rivers and banks with losses, or profound changes, in the natural riparian vegetation a problem that will increase with the ongoing climate change, and which must be contained. In order to reduce the vulnerability of these ecosystems, a deeper knowledge of the morphoanatomical attributes that make possible the successful adaptation of riparian flora is necessary so as to implement appropriate measures for the rehabilitation and sustainability of riparian ecosystems.
Part of the book: River Basin Management