The term riparian technically only refers to areas adjacent to flowing bodies of water such as rivers, streams, sloughs, and estuaries. The terms riparian forest and riparian zone have come to include areas adjacent to those non-flowing water bodies such as ponds, lakes, playas and reservoirs.
A riparian forest area along a tributary to Lake Erie
Riparian forests are subject to frequent inundation.
Riparian forests help control sediment, reduce the damaging effects of flooding and aid in stabilizing stream banks.
Riparian zones are transition zones between an upland terrestrial environment and an aquatic environment. Organisms found in this zone are adapted to periodic flooding. Many not only tolerate it, but require it in order to maintain health and complete their lifestyles.