This paper discusses and summarizes the major conclusions of the special issue entitled 'Living rivers: trends and challenges in science and management' of Hydrobiologia/Developments in Hydrobiology. It is structured along three lines: (1) Functioning of river systems; (2) Ecological rehabilitation of river systems; (3) Challenges and obstacles to sustainable management. Sustainable river basin management requires a thorough understanding of natural, physical, chemical and ecological processes as well as socio-economic functioning. Environmental rehabilitation of river systems inevitably requires an ecosystem-based approach involving solutions supported by the public. The challenge is to combine ecological and socio-economic sustainability. Rethinking our efforts in both directions must lead to more innovative solutions than those available at present.

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Department of Sociology

van der Velde, G, Leuven, R.S.E.W, Ragas, A.M.J, & Smits, A.J.M. (2006). Living rivers: Trends and challenges in science and management. In Hydrobiologia (Vol. 565, pp. 359–367). doi:10.1007/s10750-005-1925-3