Multi-scale evaluation of river health in Liao River Basin, China
ABSTRACT Previous studies on river health evaluation mainly focused on characterizations at a river-corridor scale and ignored the
complex interactions between the river ecosystem and other components of the river basin. Based on the consideration of the
interactions among rivers, associated river basin and habitats, an assessment framework with multi-scale indicators was developed.
An index system divided among these three scales to characterize the health of river ecosystems in China’s Liao River Basin
was established. Set pair analysis was applied to integrate the multi-scale indicators and determine the health classes. The
evaluation results indicated that the rivers in the western and eastern zones of the Liao River were classified as sick, and
rivers in the main stream of the Liao and Huntai rivers were classified as unhealthy. An excessive level of disturbances,
such as large pollution loads and dense construction of water conservation projects within the river basin, were the main
causes of the river health deterioration.
Keywordsmulti-scale characterization–river health evaluation–Liao River Basin–set pair analysis