Destruction of alluvial forests can be attributed to the following factors: the working of gravel pits; establishment of industrial areas and ports; creation of leisure facilities; modification of watercourses; land reorganization; hydraulic development; enlargement of watercourses and canalization; the building of dams and reservoirs; and pollution.
Alluvial forest used to extend throughout the flood plains of large rivers and their main tributaries, particularly those whose water supply during growth periods was provided by rapid floods not causing root asphyxiation. Their destruction started several centuries ago and the large valleys have been marked by humans since at least the Neolithic period.
In Europe destruction of this habitat has gathered pace abruptly since the development, for the production of hydro-electric power, and canalization on a European scale of the major water-courses: Rhine, RhÃ´ne, Danube, etc. (50% of original alluvial forest areas destroyed for the Rhine, 25% for the Danube).