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Flood Resilience, Amenity and Biodiversity Benefits of an Historic Urban Pond

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephen Birkinshaw



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by The Royal Society Publishing, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The main pond within the historic Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is an important component of urban Blue-Green Infrastructure. This paper reports on flood resilience provided by the pond (simulated using the CityCAT hydrodynamic model), its water residence times (obtained using the Shetran hydrological model), and the ecology and biodiversity (vascular plants, bryophytes, aquatic invertebrates, phyto- and zooplankton, birds) of the pond and the adjacent area. The results show that the pond improves the flood resilience with at least a 27% reduction in the peak discharge during a one hour, one in 100 year event. The area represents a biodiversity hot spot with a range of native taxa occurring among introduced plant species. The plankton community is dominated by diatoms, reflecting elevated levels of turbulence and a relatively short residence time, with an average value of 10 days. Analysis of macroinvertebrate community indicates a potential for water quality improvement. The results are discussed in relation to multiple societal benefits related to flood resilience, recreation, education, water quality, amenity and biodiversity value. The conclusions may prove particularly valuable for introducing practical measures in the water catchment preventing waterlogging of the soil and ensuring an uninterrupted supply of public services.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Krivtsov V, Birkinshaw S, Arthur S, Knott D, Monfries R, Wilson K, Christie D, Chamberlain D, Brownless P, Kelly D, Buckman J, Forbes H, Monteiro Y

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Philosophical Transactions A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

Year: 2019

Volume: 378

Issue: 2168

Online publication date: 17/02/2020

Acceptance date: 12/12/2019

Date deposited: 16/12/2019

ISSN (print): 1364-503X

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2962

Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing


DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2019.0389


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