15. Glossary

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A set of instructions or rules to help solve a problem or identify patterns in data.

Algorithm-based approach to analysis

Uses observed data to look for patterns and associations between elements (England et al., 2021).


Before-After-Control-Impact (BACI) is a sampling method that looks to assess the impact of a disturbance or change relative to natural changes found in a control site (Al-Zankana et al., 2019).


Controls are elements in a scientific assessment that are unaffected by other variables and remain unchanged throughout the study.

Control sites

Control sites are sites that remain unchanged throughout the study period. They are used as a benchmark to measure and assess the change in restored sites.

Negative control sites

A negative control site exhibits similar negative attributes to the pre-restored site. It provides a benchmark for the restored site and allows the impact of external variables to be assessed.

Positive control sites

A positive control site exhibits the positive attributes that a restoration project wants to achieve. It provides a benchmark for the restored site and allows the impact of external variables to be assessed.

Functional approach

An analytical approach based on community traits and characteristics.

Functional integrity

A composition of species that have characteristics and traits to perform vital roles to sustain a healthy community.


An impact is the result of a pressure, these can be both physical and biological. For example, fine sediment accumulation, poor connectivity and reduced fish numbers are all impacts.


The processes of dispersal and connectivity between multiple interacting species and populations (Leibold et al., 2004).

Meta-community theory

A theory about the impact of meta-communities on distribution and abundance, and the implications for conservation and restoration (Leibold et al., 2004).


The processes of dispersal and connectivity between multiple populations of a single species (Leibold et al., 2004).


A mathematical representation of a system or process.

Model-based approach to analysis

Produces a statistical model using observed data which allows for the prediction of a response (England et al., 2021)..


Vegetation morphotypes are groups of species based on physical characteristics. For example, submerged fine-leaf and emergent broad-leaf are both vegetation morphotypes. There is some evidence that morphotypes are more useful in detecting vegetation response following restoration than specific species (Ecke et al., 2016).


The source of an impact in a catchment or at a site. For example a fine sediment input, channel modifications and structures are pressures.

Stratified sampling

A sampling approach which splits a whole sample or population into homogenous sub-groups to represent specific characteristics. For example a river might be split up into its various habitats (riffles, pools, bars etc.).

Stratified random sampling

Stratified random sampling takes the above approach and then randomly samples the sub-groups. For example, if the river is split into habitats, the riffles, pools and bars will then be randomly sampled.

Structural complexity

A diverse composition of species within an environment.

Taxonomic approach

An analytical approach based on species composition.


  1. Al-Zankana, A.F.A.; Matheson, T., Harper, D.M. (2019). How strong is the evidence—based on macroinvertebrate community responses — That river restoration works? Ecohydrol. Hydrobiol. 2019, 20, 196–214.
  2. Cambridge Dictionary. (2022). | https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/
  3. Ecke, F., Hellsten, S., Köhler, J. et al. (2016). The response of hydrophyte growth forms and plant strategies to river restoration. Hydrobiologia 769, 41–54. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-015-2605-6
  4. England, J.; Angelopoulos, N.; Cooksley, S.; Dodd, J.; Gill, A.; Gilvear, D.; Johnson, M.; Naura, M.; O’Hare, M.; Tree, A.; et al., (2021). Best Practices for Monitoring and Assessing the Ecological Response to River Restoration.
  5. Leibold, M.A., Holyoak, M., Mouquet, N., Amarasekare, P., Chase, J.M., Hoopes, M.F., Holt, R.D., Shurin, J.B., Law, R., Tilman, D., Loreau, M. and Gonzalez, A. (2004), The metacommunity concept: a framework for multi-scale community ecology. Ecology Letters, 7: 601-613. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2004.00608.x Water 2021, 13, 3352. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13233352