Upland and lowland

Upland and lowland are conditional descriptions of a plain based on elevation above sea level. In studies of the ecology of freshwater rivers, habitats are classified as upland or lowland.

Cascadilla Creek
Cascadilla Creek, near Ithaca, New York in the United States, an example of an upland river habitat.


Upland and lowland are portions of plain that are conditionally categorized by their elevation above the sea level. Lowlands are usually no higher than 200 m (660 ft), while uplands are somewhere around 200 m (660 ft) to 500 m (1,600 ft). On rare occasions, certain lowlands such as Caspian Depression lie below sea level.

Upland habitats are cold, clear and rocky whose rivers are fast-flowing in mountainous areas; lowland habitats are warm with slow-flowing rivers found in relatively flat lowland areas, with water that is frequently coloured by sediment and organic matter.

These classifications overlap with the geological definitions of "upland" and "lowland". In geology an "upland" is generally considered to be land that is at a higher elevation than the alluvial plain or stream terrace, which are considered to be "lowlands". The term "bottomland" refers to low-lying alluvial land near a river.

Many freshwater fish and invertebrate communities around the world show a pattern of specialisation into upland or lowland river habitats. Classifying rivers and streams as upland or lowland is important in freshwater ecology as the two types of river habitat are very different, and usually support very different populations of fish and invertebrate species.


In freshwater ecology, upland rivers and streams are the fast-flowing rivers and streams that drain elevated or mountainous country, often onto broad alluvial plains (where they become lowland rivers). However, altitude is not the sole determinant of whether a river is upland or lowland. Arguably the most important determinants are that of stream power and stream gradient. Rivers with a course that drops in altitude rapidly will have faster water flow and higher stream power or "force of water". This in turn produces the other characteristics of an upland river - an incised course, a river bed dominated by bedrock and coarse sediments, a riffle and pool structure and cooler water temperatures. Rivers with a course that drops in altitude very slowly will have slower water flow and lower force. This in turn produces the other characteristics of a lowland river - a meandering course lacking rapids, a river bed dominated by fine sediments and higher water temperatures. Lowland rivers tend to carry more suspended sediment and organic matter as well, but some lowland rivers have periods of high water clarity in seasonal low-flow periods.

The generally clear, cool, fast-flowing waters and bedrock and coarse sediment beds of upland rivers encourage fish species with limited temperature tolerances, high oxygen needs, strong swimming ability and specialised reproductive strategies to prevent eggs or larvae being swept away. These characteristics also encourage invertebrate species with limited temperature tolerances, high oxygen needs and ecologies revolving around coarse sediments and interstices or "gaps" between those coarse sediments,


Amazon River near Manaus, Brazil, an example of a lowland river habitat.

The generally more turbid, warm, slow-flowing waters and fine sediment beds of lowland rivers encourage fish species with broad temperature tolerances and greater tolerances to low oxygen levels, and life history and breeding strategies adapted to these and other traits of lowland rivers. These characteristics also encourage invertebrate species with broad temperature tolerances and greater tolerances to low oxygen levels and ecologies revolving around fine sediments or alternative habitats such as submerged woody debris ("snags") or submergent macrophytes ("water weed").

Lowland alluvial plains

See also

Aquatic ecosystem

An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem in a body of water. Communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems.

Bank (geography)

In geography, the word bank generally refers to the land alongside a body of water. Different structures are referred to as banks in different fields of geography, as follows.

In limnology (the study of inland waters), a stream bank or river bank is the terrain alongside the bed of a river, creek, or stream. The bank consists of the sides of the channel, between which the flow is confined. Stream banks are of particular interest in fluvial geography, which studies the processes associated with rivers and streams and the deposits and landforms created by them. Bankfull discharge is a discharge great enough to fill the channel and overtop the banks.The descriptive terms left bank and right bank refer to the perspective of an observer looking downstream, a well-known example of this being the sections of Paris as defined by the river Seine. The shoreline of ponds, swamps, estuaries, reservoirs, or lakes are also of interest in limnology and are sometimes referred to as banks. The grade of all these banks or shorelines can vary from vertical to a shallow slope.

In freshwater ecology, banks are of interest as the location of riparian habitats. Riparian zones occur along upland and lowland river and stream beds. The ecology around and depending on a marsh, swamp, slough, or estuary, sometimes called a bank, is likewise studied in freshwater ecology.

Banks are also of interest in navigation, where the term can refer either to a barrier island or a submerged plateau, such as an ocean bank. A barrier island is a long narrow island composed of sand and forming a barrier between an island lagoon or sound and the ocean. A submerged plateau is a relatively flat topped elevation of the sea floor at shallow depth (generally less than 200 m), typically on the continental shelf or near an island.


The chowchilla (Orthonyx spaldingii) is a passerine bird in the family Orthonychidae. It is endemic to Australia.

Cotherstone Moor

Cotherstone Moor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in the Teesdale district in south-west County Durham, England. It is an extensive area of moorland which extends almost the entire length of Baldersdale, from the confluence of the River Balder with the Tees at Cotherstone. It runs parallel to Bowes Moor SSSI, which lies a short distance to the south.

The area includes a variety of upland vegetation types, much of it blanket bog, including one area that is found nowhere else in County Durham and which is unusual for being transitional between northern upland and lowland bogs. Other habitats include dry heath, acid grassland, flushes, and rock and block scree.

The area supports breeding populations of a number of species of birds that are listed in the United Kingdom's Red Data Book (Birds), including four that are listed in Annex 1 of the European Commission's Birds Directive as requiring special protection.The Pennine Way National Trail passes through the area.

Cyril Fox

Sir Cyril Fred Fox (16 December 1882 – 15 January 1967) was an English archaeologist.

Fox became keeper of archaeology at the National Museum of Wales from 1926 to 1948. Along with his wife, Aileen Fox, he surveyed and excavated several prehistoric monuments in Wales. Sir Cyril and Lady Fox had three sons.

Flathead galaxias (Australia)

The flathead galaxias (Galaxias rostratus) is a freshwater fish found in lowland rivers and streams and associated billabongs, backwaters, etc. of the southern Murray-Darling river system in Australia.

Flathead galaxias continue a pattern found in Murray-Darling native fish of speciation into upland and lowland habitats. Flathead galaxias are found in lowland habitats, while the mountain galaxias species complex, containing at least seven species of Galaxias (research is ongoing) are found in upland habitats, as well as "midland" or upland/lowland transitional habitats.

Highland midge

The highland midge (scientific name: Culicoides impunctatus; Scots: Midgie; Scottish Gaelic: Meanbh-chuileag) is a species of small flying insect, found across the Palearctic (throughout the British Isles, Scandinavia, other regions of Northern Europe, Russia and Northern China) in upland and lowland areas (fens, bogs and marshes). In the north west of Scotland and northern Wales the highland midge is usually very prevalent from late spring to late summer. Female highland midges are well known for gathering in clouds and biting humans, though the majority of the blood they obtain comes from cattle, sheep and deer. The bite of Culicoides is felt as a sharp prick. It is often followed by irritating lumps that may disappear in a few hours or last for days, depending on the individual.

Following Scotland's exceptionally cold winter in the early part of 2010, scientists found that the prolonged freezing conditions, rather than reducing the following summer's midge population in the Scottish Highlands, in fact increased it as the cold weather had reduced the numbers of its natural predators, such as bats and birds.

Indigenous peoples of the Philippines

The Philippines consist of a large number of upland and lowland ethnolinguistic groups living in the country. The highland ethnic nations have co-existed with the lowland Austronesian ethnic groups for thousands of years in the Philippine archipelago. The primary difference is that they were not absorbed by centuries of Spanish and United States colonization of the Philippines, and in the process have retained their customs and traditions. This is mainly due to the rugged inaccessibility of the mountains, which discouraged Spanish and American colonizers from coming into contact with the highlanders. The indigenous peoples of northern Philippines are collectively called as Igorot, while the non-Muslim indigenous groups of mainland Mindanao are collectively called as Lumad. Numerous indigenous groups also live outside these two indigenous corridors.According to the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, there are 135 recognized local languages in the Philippines, one of which (Tagalog) is known to all groups in the Philippines, and each of the remaining 134 is inherent to a single ethnic group. There are 134 ethnic groups in the Philippines, the majority of which are indigenous, though much of the overall Philippine population is constituted by only 8-10 lowland ethnic groups.

Kerzhenets Nature Reserve

Kerzhinski Nature Reserve (Russian: Керженский) (also Kerzhensky) is a Russian 'zapovednik' (strict nature reserve) located in the middle basin of the Kerzhenets River (a left-bank tributary of the Volga), 600 kilometres (370 mi) east of Moscow. The terrain features extensive upland and lowland swamps, and is known in particular as a site for the study of beavers, and their effects on recovery of the landscape after fires and logging. The reserve is situated 55 km northeast of the City of Nizhny Novgorod in the Bor and Semonov districts of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. The site has been a center for scientific study of nature of the region since 1933. It is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, Ramsar wetland. The reserve was established in its current form in 1993, and covers an area of 46,940 ha (181.2 sq mi).

List of National Natural Landmarks in New Jersey

From List of National Natural Landmarks, these are the National Natural Landmarks in New Jersey. There are 11 in total, many of them are related to the glacial geology, especially the Wisconsin Glacier and the Glacial Lake Passaic that it created over a large portion of northern New Jersey.

Lleyn sheep

Lleyn sheep are a breed of sheep from the Llŷn peninsula ('Lleyn'), in Gwynedd, north-west Wales.

They are bred for prolificacy, good mothering, quiet in nature, high milk and excellent for white wool. They are suited to both upland and lowland grazing.This breed is raised primarily for meat.

Los Amigos Biological Station

The Los Amigos Biological Station is a research station in lowland Amazonian forest at the base of Peru's southern Andes, at 270 masl in Madre de Dios department. The station's official name in Spanish is Centro de Investigación y Capacitación Río Los Amigos (Los Amigos Research and Training Center). It is commonly known by its Spanish acronym, CICRA.

The station sits on a high terrace at the confluence of the Madre de Dios and Los Amigos rivers. CICRA's small private property is contiguous to the Los Amigos Conservation Concession (LACC), which protects a diversity of upland and lowland forest types and aquatic habitats in 1,450 km² of the lower Los Amigos watershed. Population density in a 5 km radius of the station is approximately 2 persons per square kilometer, mostly itinerant gold miners working concessions along the Madre de Dios River; the 30-person village of Boca Amigos is 2 km from the station. Within the LACC, population density is zero, with the exception of occasional visits by uncontacted indigenous groups.

Research and training facilities at CICRA include lodging for 50 visitors, 250 m2 of laboratory space, a lecture hall, a >50-km trail system, a 60-m radio tower, satellite internet access, access to online scientific literature and databases, high-resolution digital aerial photos of >200,000 ha of surrounding forests, a digital flora of >2,500 plant species collected on-site, a 470-volume scientific library, a weather station dating to 2000, and field guides to fish, amphibians and reptiles, and plants. Off-site resources include two smaller satellite stations, each with their own laboratories and lodging, 3 and 25 km from the main station; a GIS laboratory in nearby Puerto Maldonado; and two additional 60-m radio towers inside the conservation concession.

The station was established in 2000 by two non-governmental organizations: the Peruvian NGO Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA) and the US-based Amazon Conservation Association (ACA). The station is administered by ACCA, in partnership with ACA and a third NGO, the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER). The long-term vision of these groups is to make CICRA the leading field destination for researchers and students in Amazonia.

In 2005-2009, CICRA was the most active research station in the Amazon basin, hosting an average of 24 researchers and assistants per day. During the same period, it was likely also the most intensively studied site in the Amazon, hosting 145 different research projects spanning animal behavior, biogeochemistry, botany, conservation biology, geology, hydrology, zoology, as well as biological inventories of 31 different taxa, ranging from copepods to marsupials. These numbers place CICRA behind Panama's Barro Colorado Island and Costa Rica's La Selva Biological Station—the leading Neotropical research stations—but ahead of other field stations in the Amazon basin. Most research visitors are associated with universities in Peru or abroad, and many receive funding to visit the station through ACA and ACCA's grant programs.

Los Amigos is also a leading training site for young Amazonian scientists and conservationists. From 2002 to 2009 the station hosted 19 field courses, ranging from introductory courses on Amazonia to specialized courses on plant identification, ornithology, and arthropod biology. More than 70% of the >300 students who participated in these courses were Latin American.

Through 2006, the station received the majority of its funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Additional funds have come from ACEER, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, the National Geographic Society, the U.S. National Science Foundation, and private donors. Since mid-2005, the station has covered its operating expenses with station fees from visiting researchers and courses.

Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge

Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1960 to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl, primarily the greater snow goose. It is located almost entirely on Knotts Island in the Currituck Sound between Back Bay in Virginia Beach, Virginia and the open sound in North Carolina. Most of the refuge lies within North Carolina but some of it is in Virginia. The refuge is primarily made up of marsh habitat. This area has long been recognized for supporting significant migratory waterfowl populations and sport fishery resources, and is part of the Charles Kuralt Trail.

The refuge is strategically located along the Atlantic Flyway, making it an important wintering area for ducks, geese, and tundra swans. At times, flocks of over 12,000 snow geese may be observed on the refuge after their arrival in November. Many other wildlife species such as wading birds, shorebirds, raptors, neotropical migrants, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians use refuge habitats for food, cover, and nesting. A pair of bald eagles also nest on the refuge.

About 74 percent of the refuge is slightly brackish marsh habitat, dominated by cattails, black needlerush, and giant cordgrass. The remaining habitat includes farmland, marsh impoundments, brush and typical upland and lowland eastern pine-hardwood forest. Vegetation in these areas includes loblolly pine, sweet gum, black gum, cypress, red maple, hickory, and oak.

The refuge has a surface area of 8,231 acres (33.31 km2). Of this, 7,357 acres (29.77 km2) is in North Carolina and 874 acres (3.54 km2) is in Virginia.

New Indian Ridge Museum

The New Indian Ridge Museum, Historic Shupe Homestead, and Wildlife Preserve is a private museum and nature reserve located on Beaver Creek in Amherst, Ohio, consisting of the Jacob Shupe Homestead site, the Honeysuckle Cabin from Kentucky, the Mingo cabin (a stage coach relay station stop), and the Tymochte Cabin (built in 1795). The grounds contain two additional lots of upland and lowland mature wooded forest that contain wetlands, vernal pools, and an area floodplain. The property contains numerous tree and wildflower species, several fern types, buttonbushes, pawpaw trees, native green dragon wildflowers, and about fifty different species of birds.

The museum's collection is diverse, with artifacts dating from prehistory to recent decades. Many of the artifacts came from the former Vietzen Archaeological Museum of Elyria Ohio, founded by Ray Vietzen. Matt Nahorn founded the current museum in 2000 but it is not regularly open to the public.

Particle (ecology)

In marine and freshwater ecology, a particle is a small object. Particles can remain in suspension in the ocean or freshwater. However, they eventually settle (rate determined by Stokes' law) and accumulate as sediment. Some can enter the atmosphere through wave action where they can act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Many organisms filter particles out of the water with unique filtration mechanisms (filter feeders). Particles are often associated with high loads of toxins which attach to the surface. As these toxins are passed up the food chain they accumulate in fatty tissue and become increasingly concentrated in predators (see bioaccumulation). Very little is known about the dynamics of particles, especially when they are re-suspended by dredging. They can remain floating in the water and drift over long distances. The decomposition of some particles by bacteria consumes a lot of oxygen and can cause the water to become hypoxic.

Patterson's Archeological District

Patterson's Archeological District is a 512-acre (2.07 km2) archaeological site near Wallville in Calvert County, Maryland at the mouth of St. Leonard's Creek, the largest tributary of the tidal portions of the Patuxent River. It contains a representative sample of a range of archeological sites characteristic of both upland and lowland utilization of the Chesapeake Bay tidewater region during the prehistoric and historic periods. The property also contains a range of historic sites.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. This district is a component of Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum.

Seitseminen National Park

Seitseminen National Park (Finnish: Seitsemisen kansallispuisto) is located in the municipalities of Ikaalinen and Ylöjärvi in Finland. The national park was established in 1982 and later expanded in 1989. It now covers 45.5 square kilometres (17.6 sq mi). The park is a typical mix of upland and lowland coniferous boreal forests of the Suomenselkä watershed region. Upland areas are dominated by closed productive stands of Norway spruce and Scots pine while lowland areas are covered by sphagnum swamp and bog areas that also contain stunted (Scots pine) and shrublike (Norway spruce). These swamp and bog areas appear to be barren due to the sparse tree densities. Parts of the park contain some of the most ancient and oldest forests that are accessible to public in Finland.

The Kovero Farm (Finnish: Koveron kruununmetsätorppa), a tenant farm established in 1859, is part of the cultural heritage area of the park.

Seitseminen National Park received the European Diploma of Protected Areas on June 19, 1996. It was valid until June 2011.


Solosolo is a village on the northeast coast of Upolu island in Samoa. The village is in the political district of Atua and is one of the prominent settlements in the area with the largest population in its electoral constituency of Anoama'a West.


Upland or Uplands may refer to:

Hill, an area of higher land, generally

Highland, an area of higher land divided into low and high points

Upland and lowland, conditional descriptions of a plain based on elevation above sea level

Aquatic ecosystems

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