Book: River Futures

River Futures: An Integrative Scientific Approach to River Repair

Brierley, G.J. and Fryirs, K.A. (Eds.) (2008) River Futures: An Integrative Scientific Approach to River Repair. Island Press, Washington DC
ISBN 9781597261128

Back cover

Across much of the industrialized world, rivers that were physically transformed and ecologically ruined to facilitate industrial and agricultural development are now the focus of restoration and rehabilitation efforts. River Futures discusses the emergence of this new era of river repair and documents a comprehensive biophysical framework for river science and management.

The book considers what can be done to maximize prospects for improving river health while maintaining or enhancing the provision of ecosystem services over the next fifty to one-hundred years. It provides a holistic overview of considerations that underpin the use of science in river management emphasizing cross-disciplinary understanding that builds on a landscape template.

About the book


This book:

  • frames the development of integrative river science and its application to river rehabilitation programs
  • develops a coherent set of guiding principles with which to approach integrative river science
  • considers the application of cross-disciplinary thinking in river rehabilitation experiences from around the world
  • examines the crossover between science and management, outlining issues that must be addressed to promote healthier river futures

Case studies explore practical applications in different parts of the world, highlighting approaches to the use of integrative river science, measures of success, and steps that could be taken to improve performance in future efforts.

River Futures offers a positive, practical, and constructive focus that directly addresses the major challenge of a new era of river conservation and rehabilitation—that of bringing together the diverse and typically discipline-bound sets of knowledge and practices that are involved in repairing rivers. It is a valuable resource for anyone involved in river restoration and management, including restorationists, scientists, managers, and policymakers, as well as undergraduate and graduate students.



River Futures offers a comprehensive overview of the state of our knowledge about river rehabilitation. Like early explorers’ maps, it also sketches the shape of rich terrain waiting to be explored more thoroughly, where human values and needs are deeply interwoven into the process of river repair. This book is essential cargo for anyone wanting to understand where we’ve been, and where we need to go.

Brian Richter

Director, Global Freshwater Program, The Nature Conservancy, and co-author of 'Rivers for Life: Managing Water for People and Nature' (Island Press, 2003).

What a delight to have a book that provides the theoretical foundation for the next half-century of toil as we strive to repair our rivers. A central message of River Futures is that much of that toil is the exhausting business of integrating within and between science and society. This book is required reading for anyone devoted to leaving our rivers better than they found them.

Ian Rutherford

Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources and Geography, University of Melbourne, Australia

This book provides a considered and authoritative foundation for the move away from simple habitat structures and engineering mimicry to the much-needed fundamental reassessment of ecological integrity in rivers and their catchments. The authors convincingly discuss and evaluate evidence-based remedial strategies and operations in a diverse international set of case studies. If only Aldo and Luna Leopold could see how far we’ve come!

Malcolm Newsom

Professor of Physical Geography, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, London