Forest harvesting in riparian areas can alter the leaf-litter inputs, shading, and stability of small streams, and many of the details of these impacts are known for coastal streams of the Pacific Northwest. However, little is known about how small streams in the drier, continental
areas of western North America respond to logging. We conducted a study of paired stream reaches (comparing one recently harvested (≤3 years) reach and two upstream, forested reaches in each of five streams) in which periphyton, detritus, macroinvertebrate abundance and biomass, and
physical features were measured in summer and autumn. In general, recently harvested stream sections tended to be wider and contained more riffle areas than the upstream forested sections. The amounts of leaf litter and algae varied among streams and were not consistently greater or lesser
in the forested sections than in the harvested sections. Though the variation in amounts within streams was mainly seasonal, amounts differed more among streams than between pairs of harvested and forested reaches. The communities of benthic invertebrates differed significantly between forested
and harvested reaches, but often in opposite directions between streams. The magnitude and direction of differences observed between treatments, streams, or seasons were associated with the specific stream and the method of riparian harvesting used.
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