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Riparian ecology is the study of all aspects of the ecology of the zones adjacent to rivers and streams, known as riparian zones. These include river banks and floodplains, and riparian ecology includes the role these zones have in maintaining water quality.
Phosphorus is essential for food production, but it is also a key cause of eutrophication. Estimates of phosphorus flux for the past 40–70 years reveal that large river basins can experience phases of phosphorus accumulation and depletion.
Soil contains aged organic carbon that can be hundreds or thousands of years old. Human disturbance in small and large watersheds is mobilizing some of this fossil carbon from soils to aquatic systems.