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Riparian forest harvesting and its influence on benthic communities of small streams of sub-boreal British Columbia

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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.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 3, 2007

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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