Situated on the western margin of Europe, Wales has been moulded by the erosional and depositional power of its fresh waters by virtue of high rainfall interacting with extensive regions of bedrock and post- Ice Age glacial debris. The result is a still evolving landscape rich in upland bogs, springs, mountain streams and lakes, rivers running through deeply eroded valleys, and large, lowland rivers meandering across wide floodplains into estuaries and the sea - as Professor Brian Moss says in his preface to the book: "When it comes to freshwaters, the Celts have the best of it."
Subsequent chapters bring together, for the first time, the combined expertise of a group of scientists whose intimate and collective knowledge of the Welsh aquatic landscape is unparalleled. The authors begin by describing the knowledge base of these important habitats, emphasising the structure and role of their plant, animal, and microbial communities. Upon this are built chapters that review the pioneering role of Welsh river studies in the development of running water science and, very poignantly, assess the high degree of human alteration of the principality's riverine ecosystems. These are followed by chapters that discuss the need for further scientific study, management, conservation, restoration and education so that future impacts on Welsh waters may be understood and minimised.
Throughout the book flows the underlying theme that there has been and always will be a close link between water resources and the development of Welsh society. The book is data-rich, very well illustrated, and contains a bibliography of over 1,100 references to the scientific literature.
Preface. Brian Moss
Chapter 1. Introduction - Dudley Williams & Catherine Duigan
Chapter 2. Rivers in the Welsh physical and cultural landscape - Catherine Duigan
Chapter 3. River dynamics and environmental change in Wales - Paul Brewer, Eric Johnstone & Mark Macklin
Chapter 4. Habitats of Welsh river floodplains - Peter Jones, David Stevens, Jim Latham & Catherine Duigan
Chapter 5. Life in Welsh rivers: Micro-organisms - Maurice Lock
Chapter 6. Life in Welsh rivers: Plants - Tristan Hatton-Ellis, Tim Blackstock & Alan Orange
Chapter 7. Life in Welsh rivers: Invertebrates - John Gee & Adrian Fowles
Chapter 8. Life in Welsh rivers: Fishes - Michael Evans, Nigel Milner & Miran Aprahamian
Chapter 9. Life in Welsh rivers: Other vertebrate life - Roger Lovegrove, Rob Strachan, Andy Crawford, Stephanie Tyler, Liz Halliwell & Fred Slater
Chapter 10. Welsh rivers and their role in the development of running water science - Dudley Williams
Chapter 11. Pollution effects on Welsh rivers: A damaged past, an uncertain future? - Steve Ormerod & Ingrid J#ttner
Chapter 12. Welsh rivers under threat: Physical factors - Michael Dobson, Marc Naura & Malcolm McElhone
Chapter 13. Welsh river rehabilitation - Nigel Holmes & Peter Gough
Chapter 14. River conservation in Wales: A synthesis - Catherine Duigan, Tristan Hatton-Ellis, Jim Latham, Stewart Campbell & Bob Mathews
Chapter 15.The rivers of Wales: Retrospect and prospect - Noel Hynes
Surprisingly, it seems, this is the first book that sets out to gather together all of the information available on the scientific study and conservation of running-water habitats in Wales and to communicate it to a wider audience beyond just freshwater scientists. However, The Rivers of Wales is not just a descriptive account of the biological and physical character of Welsh rivers; an underlying theme throughout the book is that there always has been and always will be a strong link between water resources and the development of Welsh society.... The relevance of this book goes well beyond the borders of Wales and it could just as rightly be regarded as a text book in lotic science with a profound sense of place, as it can a book about Welsh rivers. There is an urgent need to inspire a new generation of freshwater scientists and I am sure that in years to come young freshwater scientists will cite this book as their inspiration. David Bradley, FBA News. "This is not a textbook of freshwater biology, although it includes detail and example which is valuable to freshwater ecologists. Nor is it just a celebration of Welsh rivers. It is a combination of good science with enthusiasm and celebration, which makes it an enjoyable and thought-provoking read..... This is a book which I have enjoyed and shall keep and refer to later....an attractive and interesting read. " Mark Young, Bulletin of the British Ecological Society, December 2009.