Fringing zone measures assess the structural and condition features of vegetation that exist along the edges of rivers within 50 metres from both banks (100 metre river corridor).
Fringing vegetation is one of the most critical agents in the health and stability of the aquatic ecosystem. Vegetation, particularly through the river corridor, filters overland water flow, buffers the impacts from adjacent land use, stabilises banks and prevents erosion.
It also provides pathways for animals in and between aquatic and riparian systems, as well as shade and organic material for habitat and to support the aquatic food-web.
The quality of the fringing zone vegetation – how intact it is – is a key predictor of the level of impact in aquatic environments from adjacent land use.