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The impact of riparian land use on the stream insect communities was studied at Kudremukh National Park located within Western Ghats, a tropical biodiversity hotspot in India. The diversity and community composition of stream insects varied across streams with different riparian land use types. The rarefied family and generic richness was highest in streams with natural semi evergreen forests as riparian vegetation. However, when the streams had human habitations and areca nut plantations as riparian land use type, the rarefied richness was higher than that of streams with natural evergreen forests and grasslands. The streams with scrub lands and iron ore mining as the riparian land use had the lowest rarefied richness. Within a landscape, the streams with the natural riparian vegetation had similar community composition. However, streams with natural grasslands as the riparian vegetation, had low diversity and the community composition was similar to those of paddy fields. We discuss how stream insect assemblages differ due to varied riparian land use patterns, reflecting fundamental alterations in the functioning of stream ecosystems. This understanding is vital to conserve, manage and restore tropical riverine ecosystems.