University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Department of Geography - Distinguished International Fellows > Public Lecture: In Praise of Floods: homo sapiens and rivers

Public Lecture: In Praise of Floods: homo sapiens and rivers

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Virtually all civilizations are dependent on the ever-renewed fertility of floodplain soils. Human engineering has radically simplified river hydrology, the way taxidermy or amputations might destroy a living being, so that rivers can be navigation canals, water storage, sewage conduits, hydroelectric sites, irrigation reservoirs, and flood free. Disturbance ecology teaches us, on the contrary, how the “edge environments” and “eco-tones” created by naturally occurring floods and fires promote bio-diversity. The simplification of river hydrology has set the stage for “iatrogenic” (illness caused by previous “treatment”) river ailments including massive floods.

This talk is part of the Department of Geography - Distinguished International Fellows series.

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