Gary Brierley

Gary Brierley
University of Auckland · School of Environment

PhD

About

253
Publications
98,917
Reads
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11,454
Citations
Citations since 2017
56 Research Items
5725 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,000
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,000
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,000
Additional affiliations
January 2005 - present
University of Auckland
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (253)
Article
Full-text available
Truths of the Riverscape refer to the use of geomorphological principles to inform sustainable approaches to nature-based river management. Across much of the world a command-and-control philosophy continues to assert human authority over rivers. Tasked to treat rivers as stable and predictable entities, engineers have ‘fixed rivers in place’ and ‘...
Article
Contemporary management practices have artificially confined (strangled) river systems in Aotearoa New Zealand to support intensified land use in riparian areas. These practices work against nature, diminishing the functionality and biodiversity values of living rivers, and associated socio‐cultural relations with rivers. River confinement can acce...
Article
Process interactions on catenas have supported grazing adapted ecosystems and sustained biodiversity values in the source zone of the Yellow River in western China for millennia. In recent decades, anthropogenic disturbance and climate change have threatened the integrity of these systems, impacting upon environmental values and their capacity to s...
Article
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Controversy and conflict surround the design and implementation of protected areas in tropical forests in Brazil. This case study applies an ethnogeomorphic perspective to relate local understandings of landscape to conservation goals in a protected area in Rio de Janeiro State. Externally imposed environmental protection areas fail to incorporate...
Article
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If wilderness is dead, do wild rivers exist and if so, in what form and in whose construction? This reflective article reviews perspectives on rivers in Aotearoa New Zealand as wild or tamed entities. A historical overview of the socio-cultural and institutional relationships with rivers examines the meanings of rivers in Aotearoa New Zealand throu...
Article
This paper emerges from a Marsden project, Let the River Speak, focused on the Waimatā River in Gisborne, bringing insights from mātauranga and wānanga together with a wide range of disciplines to produce innovative and engaged understandings of ki uta ki tai-the life of rivers from the mountains to the sea. In Te Ao Māori, waterways are relational...
Article
The Fluvial Biogeomorphic Succession phase model (FBS model) differentiates Geomorphic (G), Pioneer (P), Biogeomorphic (B) and Ecological (E) phases of hydro-geophysical-biological interactions in river systems. To date, quantitative applications of this model have been restricted to field surveys of vegetation composition analysis at the patch-sca...
Article
Careful development of place-based catenal models and their application as transferable archetypes provides an integrative and generalisable framework for scientifically-informed approaches to environmental management. A workshop and field excursion to the Source Zone of the Yellow River in western China in July 2019 brought together local experts...
Article
Assessment of River Styles, accompanied by time series analysis of historic imagery and geomorphic change detection techniques are used to explain the capacity for river adjustment (geomorphic sensitivity) in relation to the distribution of stream power along 3000 km of channels (3rd Strahler order and greater) to better inform management initiativ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper aims to foster an explicit geoethical orientation in physical geography. Using examples from Aotearoa New Zealand, we approach the work of physical geography with a set of ethical coordinates derived from our research, arguing that they allow for greater sensitivity in considering what is more-than-human in our research relationships. Wo...
Article
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A climate-induced vegetation gradient induces marked variability in the character and behavior of anabranching reaches of the Upper Yellow River. Analysis of satellite imagery and field appraisal of biogeomorphic attributes shows that these reaches retain a good condition in geo-eco-hydrological terms. Degradational trends experienced in the late 2...
Article
Full-text available
Characterisation of hydromorphological attributes is crucial for effective river management. Such information is often overlooked in tropical regions such as the Philippines where river management strategies mainly focus on issues around water quality and quantity. We address this knowledge gap using the River Styles Framework as a template to iden...
Article
Full-text available
A field experiment quantifies the impacts of two external disturbances (mowing‐simulated grazing and number of pika) on aboveground biomass (AGB) in the Yellow River Source Zone from 2018 to 2020. AGB was estimated from drone images for 27 plots subject to three levels of each disturbance (none, moderate, and severe). The three mowing severities be...
Article
The imprint of geologic, climatic and anthropogenic memory as controls on geomorphic river diversity is assessed for twelve River Styles in the Sabarmati Catchment. Geologic controls are the primary determinant of river character and behavior in the hinterland and pediment landscape units, where headwater streams transition to partly confined valle...
Article
The philosophy of ‘working with nature’ and ‘working with the river’ is increasingly embedded in global management practice. However, what does this mean? Has real progress been made in operationalising what is known, how scientists and practitioners work and how rivers are conceptualised as integral parts of landscapes, culture and society? The fi...
Chapter
Predictions of sediment flux and the evolutionary trajectory of river systems cannot be conducted effectively independent from quantitative understandings of sediment (dis)connectivity. This requires analysis of structural and functional interactions within and between landscape compartments, and the way these interactions play out at the catchment...
Article
A geomorphic unit is a landform that has been created and reworked by a particular set of earth surface processes. Each geomorphic unit has a particular morphology and sediment properties. Characteristic assemblages and patterns of geomorphic units reflect the use of available energy at any particular location in the landscape. In river systems the...
Chapter
River restoration is not just a biophysical act but a sociocultural intervention which reflects and affects relationships between people and the environment. To restore a river is to assert how it should look and how it should behave: an act which often privileges anthropocentric aspirations and understandings regarding freshwater. In this chapter,...
Article
Full-text available
The process of interpretation, and the ways in which knowledge builds upon interpretations, has profound implications in scientific and managerial terms. Despite the significance of these issues, geomorphologists typically give scant regard to such deliberations. Geomorphology is not a linear, cause-and-effect science. Inherent complexities and unc...
Article
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Accurate approaches to aboveground biomass (AGB) estimation are required to support appraisal of the effectiveness of land use measures, which seek to protect grazing-adapted grasslands atop the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). This methodological study assesses the effectiveness of one commonly used visible band vegetation index, Red Green Blue Vegeta...
Article
A geo‐eco‐hydrological approach is developed and applied to assess river condition for three anabranching reaches in the Source Zone of the Yellow River. Building on principles of the River Styles Framework, attributes used to assess river condition are tailored to measure key attributes of the character and behavior for the type of river under con...
Article
Full-text available
A fundamental premise of river management is that practitioners understand the resource they are working with. In river management this requires that baseline information is available on the structure, function, health and trajectory of rivers. Such information provides the basis to contextualise, to plan, to be proactive, to prioritise, to set vis...
Preprint
Full-text available
Characterisation of hydromorphological attributes is crucial for effective river management. In the Philippines, such applications are usually solely based on water quantity and quality. This paper uses the River Styles Framework as an alternative template for identifying the diversity of river morphodynamics as a valuable input to river management...
Article
A solution is provided to automatically identify river reaches based on their planform typologies via a holistic synthesis of multi-dimensional, quali-quantitative information. Inspired by fuzzy logics, an algorithm is proposed which appraises the degree of fit of a range of archetypes based on formal criteria, applied over a discretized version of...
Article
Full-text available
The fluvial biogeomorphic succession (FBS) phase model is used to appraise biogeomorphic interactions along four anabranching reaches of the Upper Yellow River. Geomorphic features and vegetation distribution patterns are combined to assess the dominant FBS phase. A notable increase in shrub and tree cover and a decrease in sedges occur with decrea...
Article
Full-text available
Globally, rivers systems are under considerable and increasing threat from multiple anthropogenic stresses, including different types of direct (e.g. channel engineering) and indirect human impacts (e.g. land cover and land use changes) that alter water and sediment dynamics. (Dis)connectivity relationships determine the source, timing and rates of...
Chapter
Rivers have played a fundamental role in the development of human society. Despite their importance to societal wellbeing, rivers continue to be treated with disdain. Many rivers are in a perilous state. An era of river repair has begun, but it is not working in the manner or scale that is required. Drawing on Māori perspectives from Aotearoa New Z...
Chapter
Finding the Voice of the River envisages revitalized societal relationships to living rivers, wherein approaches to engagement and governance embrace holistic, catchment-specific approaches to maintaining and improving river health. Using an analogy with medical practices, approaches to diagnosis, treatment and monitoring apply a duty and culture o...
Chapter
Contemporary approaches to river repair are economically driven. A competitive (Medean) worldview separates humans from nature, managing rivers as resource and service providers using top-down, command and control practices. In contrast, a cooperative, collaborative, more-than-human (Gaian) approach to living with rivers sees humans as part of natu...
Chapter
Profound changes in societal relations to rivers have taken place throughout human history. Intimate relations to waterways are an integral part of hunter-gatherer life. Early agricultural exploits and hydraulic civilizations developed along river systems. Water fuelled the Industrial Revolution, as humans asserted their authority over rivers throu...
Book
This book addresses societal relationships to river systems, highlighting many unexplored possibilities in how we know and manage our rivers. Brierley contends that although we have good scientific understanding of rivers, with remarkable prospect for profound improvements to river condition, management applications greatly under-deliver. He conc...
Article
Full-text available
Impact assessment is embedded in many national and international research rating systems. Most applications use the Research Impact Pathway to track inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes of an invention or initiative to assess impact beyond scholarly contributions to an academic research field (i.e., benefits to environment, society, economy and...
Article
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Larger‐than‐average grain deposits in gravel bed rivers potentially exert a distinctive influence upon fluvial morphodynamics and flow resistance. They are products of historical contingency, sourced from rare events that supply atypically coarse material. Larger‐than‐average grain lag deposits are emblematic attributes of the Tongariro River, New...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
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Integrative approaches to land and water management apply scientifically informed policies that build upon a landscape template. The River Styles Framework supports the development and application of proactive, strategic and cost-effective management plans. This paper outlines eight key principles that build upon the River Styles Framework: (1) use...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing development, training and adaptive learning are fundamental to professional practice in river science and management. River Styles Framework provides a coherent, carefully structured (scaffolded) approach that synthesises geomorphic understandings of rivers as a baseline to support river management applications. As the approach is generic,...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores deep underlying assumptions about relationships between people and the planet, and how these translate into very different ways of relating to waterways in Aotearoa New Zealand. In te ao Mäori – ancestral Mäori ways of living – rivers and lakes are the tears of Ranginui, the sky father, mourning his separation from Papatüänuku...
Article
In an era of big‐data acquisition and semiautomation of geomorphic river surveys, it is timely to consider how to better integrate this into existing and widely used conceptual frameworks and approaches to analysis. We demonstrate how Stage 1 of the River Styles Framework, which entails identification and interpretation of river character and behav...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we demonstrate the application of a continuous confinement metric across entire river networks. Confinement is a useful metric for characterizing and discriminating valley setting. At the reach scale, valley bottom confinement is measured and quantified as the ratio of the length of channel confined on either bank by a confining marg...
Article
Full-text available
Meaningful iteration between place-based knowledge of rivers and generalised, theoretically-framed understandings is a significant challenge in river science and management. How can we communicate knowledge of the inherent complexity of river systems in light of managerial quests for simple, easy-to-apply frameworks that can be used by a wide range...
Article
Large areas of alpine meadow across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP), western China, are undergoing degradation. Drawing upon field and remotely sensed data we develop a spatially explicit grid-based simulation model to explore the long-term dynamics of alpine meadow communities in this area. Our model represents the spatial dynamics of four plant f...
Article
Bars are key morphological units in river systems, fashioning the sediment regime and bedload transport processes within a reach. Reworking of these features underpins channel adjustment at larger scales, thereby acting as a key determinant of channel stability. Despite their importance to channel evolution, few investigations have acquired spatial...
Article
The granting of rights to the Whanganui River in 2017 emerged as an outcome of Tribunal hearings relating to breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, signed between Māori chiefs and the British Crown in 1840. As this expression of a river as having legal personhood with rights reflects a distinctively Māori perspective upon river systems, it offers the...
Article
Full-text available
Connectivity describes the efficiency of material transfer between geomorphic system components such as hillslopes and rivers or longitudinal segments within a river network. Representations of geomorphic systems as networks should recognize that the compartments, links, and nodes exhibit connectivity at differing scales. The historical underpinnin...
Article
Human disturbance induces significant geomorphic changes to river systems. In eastern Australia, land‐use practices such as clearance of forests and riparian vegetation, and removal of wood from channels in the 19th and 20th centuries induced widespread geomorphic impacts. However, since the 1970s there has been a noticeable shift in the geomorphic...
Article
Lateral inputs from hillslopes and tributaries exert a variable impact upon the longitudinal connectivity of sediment transfer in river systems with differing drainage network configurations. Network topology influences channel slope and confinement at confluence zones, thereby affecting patterns of sediment storage and the conveyance of sediments...
Article
The Waiapu River catchment (drainage area of 1734-km²) is one of the most prolific conveyors of sediment in the world, annually delivering roughly 35 Mt of fine material to the ocean from eroding gullies, hillslopes, and reworked sediment on valley floors. Tectonic and geologic influences, in combination with a dynamic climate influenced by tropica...
Article
Recent emphasis on sediment connectivity in the literature highlights the need for quantitative baseline studies on the patterns and distribution of sediment stores to facilitate understanding of how sediment moves through the landscape at various temporal and spatial scales. This study evaluates the distribution and make-up of sediment stores with...
Article
Impacts of colonial settlement upon catchment-scale fluvial geomorphic relationships are reported for a relatively small catchment in northern Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Structural controls have induced the type and patterns of rivers in Macaé Basin. Fault block activity has resulted in steep, incised headwater streams above the escarpment. Conf...
Article
This paper problematises positivist framings of water demand management (WDM) that define the average-water-user. Through a situated, case-study account undertaken in suburban Auckland, we highlight variable social and cultural underpinnings of domestic water use. Activities that are commonly the focus of WDM are shown to be embedded elements of li...
Article
This situated case study outlines how a place-based landscape template provided an integrative platform for the environmental arm of a cross-disciplinary international education initiative, the Three Brothers Project, wherein geographers at the University of Auckland worked alongside engineers at Tsinghua University in Beijing to support collaborat...
Data
This atlas, consisting of 9 plates accompanies and provides the basis for the article in Journal of Maps. It shows specific maps for each stage of a geomorphic assessment in the Middle Fork John Day Watershed, including reach types, geomorphic condition, recovery potential, and a strategic management plan.
Article
Full-text available
A geomorphic assessment of the Middle Fork John Day Watershed, Oregon, USA, was used to generate a hierarchical, map-based understanding of watershed impairments and potential opportunities for improvements. Specifically, we (1) assessed river diversity (character and behavior) and patterns of reach types (and their controls); (2) evaluated the geo...
Article
Quantitative characterisation of landscapes through derivation of landscape indices helps to define landscape composition, but provides limited insight into configuration attributes. This research demonstrates how the combined use of landscape indices and graph theory (and its associated analytical tools) can produce more substantive insights into...
Article
Full-text available
We propose the use of archetypes as a way of moving between conceptual framings, empirical observations and the dichotomous classification rules upon which maps are based. An archetype is a conceptualisation of an entire category or class of objects. Archetypes can be framed as abstract exemplars of classes, conceptual models linking form and proce...
Article
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his paper forms a post-script to a Special Issue of Aquatic Sciences devoted to the rationale, nature and application of a multi-scale, hierarchical framework for developing process-based understanding of catchment to reach hydrology and fluvial geomorphology (termed hydromorphology). It considers some potential future directions for hydromorpholog...
Article
Full-text available
The influence of vegetation upon bedload transport and channel morphodynamics is examined along a channel stability gradient ranging from meandering to anabranching to anabranching–braided to fully braided planform conditions along trunk and tributary reaches of the Upper Yellow River in western China. Although the regional geology and climate are...
Article
Geomorphology shapes the way we perceive the world around us, making certain ways of understanding and interacting with landscapes more possible than others. Despite this, geomorphologists have a reputation for not engaging with philosophical questions regarding their work, particularly the role of theory, framing and language. Recent calls for a c...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Yellow River is the third longest river in Asia and the sixth longest river in the world. The Upper Yellow River lies at the margins of and atop the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau, the highest plateau in the world with an average elevation of 4000 m above sea level and an area of about 2.6 million km2. This area contributes about 56 % of the total run-o...
Chapter
The Upper Yellow River lies at the margins of and atop the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. This chapter provides an overview of contemporary understandings of the geography, geology, climate, geomorphology and palaeoenvironments, vegetation, and fauna of the area. Tectonic uplift and river incision have induced a wide range of charismatic landscapes, many o...
Chapter
Under the impact of climate change and human activities, water resources in the source zone of the Yellow River have decreased since the 1990s. At the same time, environmental deterioration, soil erosion, land desertification, shrinkage of wetlands and lakes, glacier ablation, deterioration of grasslands, rodent infestation, degradation of biologic...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Qinghai–Tibet Plateau is renowned for its geomorphologic diversity and high sensitivity to climatic changes and human disturbance. These relationships vary markedly across the region, shaped by factors such as the elevation, vegetation cover, water distribution, climate variability and the history of human settlement and land use. This chapter...
Chapter
The distinctive geography, ecology and history of the Upper Yellow River Basin have created a suite of unique, irreplaceable environmental and cultural values. However, significant development pressures present an all-too-familiar example of the challenges faced in achieving sustainability goals. This chapter pulls together various threads of enqui...
Chapter
Tectonic uplift is the primary control upon the low relief yet moderately undulating plateau landscapes that make up much of the source zone of the Yellow River. Steep ravines and gullies are restricted to mountain ranges at the northern and southern margins. This contrasts starkly with the deeply dissected landscapes at the eastern margin of the Q...
Chapter
Why are the grassland resources in the Yellow River Source Zone in the Sanjiangyuan region on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau important for eco-environmental protection in China? What are the key ecological issues in this area? This chapter provides a summary of the biological resources and protection measures in the Yellow River Source Zone. Desertifica...
Article
To investigate the influence of root system architectural properties of three indigenous (cold-adapted) shrubs on the hillslope stability of loess deposits in the Xining Basin, northeast part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP), indoor direct shear tests have been conducted on the remolded rooted soil of three shrubs. Test results show that root system...
Article
In an era of river repair, the concept of recovery enhancement has become central to river management practice. However, until about the early 2000s there were no coherent geomorphic frameworks with which to forecast river recovery potential. While the practical uptake of such frameworks has been slow, and debates continue about what recovery means...
Article
Full-text available
Stream classification provides a means to understand the diversity and distribution of channels and floodplains that occur across a landscape while identifying links between geomorphic form and process. Accordingly, stream classification is frequently employed as a watershed planning, management, and restoration tool. At the same time, there has be...
Data
Supporting text, figures, and tables for manuscript. (DOCX)
Article
Sediment flux in semi-arid drainage networks is influenced by landscape connectivity, wherein natural landforms and hydro infrastructure networks such as low order dams impede the downstream transfer of sediment. This study analyzes how drainage impediments affect bedload transport within Saco Creek watershed, in semi-arid northeast Brazil. Geomorp...
Article
The degree of landscape connection has wide-ranging implications for sediment availability, frequency of transport, and the nature of sediment storage within a basin. Two methodological approaches for assessing landscape connectivity are applied within the Garang subcatchment of the upper Yellow River. A GIS-based geomorphometric index was calculat...
Article
Full-text available
The influence of vegetation upon bedload transport and channel morphodynamics is examined along a channel stability gradient ranging from meandering through anabranching through anabranching-braided to fully braided planform conditions along trunk and tributary reaches of the Upper Yellow River in western China. Although the regional geology and cl...
Book
This book offers a comprehensive review of the landscapes and ecosystems of the Upper Yellow River. It focuses on landscapes as a platform for considering environmental values and issues across the region. The book is based on extensive field-based analyses, applications, and photographs.
Article
Valley setting and confinement (or lack thereof) are primary controls on river character and behaviour. Although thereare various proxies for valley confinement, direct measures that quantify the nature and extent of confinement are generally lackingand/or inconsistently described. As such they do not lend themselves to consistent analysis over lar...
Article
Full-text available
Fluvial geomorphologists use close to a 100 different terms to describe the landforms that make up riverscapes. We identified 68 of these existing terms that describe truly distinctive landforms, in which form is maintained under characteristic conditions and fluvial processes. Clear topographic definitions for these landforms to consistently ident...
Article
Full-text available
There is growing demand for biogeographical landscape classifications and ecological maps that describe patterns of spatially co-varying biotic and abiotic ecosystem components. This demand is fuelled by increasing data availability and processing capacity, by institutional practices of land and water resource management and planning and by the gro...