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The Relationship Between Productivities of Salmonids and Forest Stands in Northern California Watersheds

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Productivities of resident salmonids and upland and riparian forests in 22 small watersheds of coastal northern California were estimated and compared to determine whether: 1) upland site productivity predicted riparian site productivity; 2) either upland or riparian site productivity predicted salmonid productivity; and 3) other parameters explained more of the variance in salmonid productivity. Upland and riparian site productivities were estimated using Site Index values for redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and red alder (Alnus rubra), respectively. Salmonid productivity was indexed by back-calculated length at age 1 of the largest individuals sampled and by total biomass. Upland and riparian site indices were correlated, but neither factor contributed to the best approximating models of salmonid productivity. Total salmonid biomass was best described by a positive relationship with drainage area. Length of dominant fish was best described by a positive relationship with percentage of hardwoods within riparian areas, which may result from nutrient and/or litter subsidies provided by red alder. The inability of forest productivity to predict salmon productivity may reflect insufficient variation in independent variables, limitations of the indices, and the operation of other factors affecting salmonid production. The lack of an apparent relationship between upland conifer and salmonid productivity suggests that management of land for timber productivity and component streams for salmonid production in these sites will require separate, albeit integrated, management strategies.
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Keywords: Site Index; forestry-fishery interactions; red alder; redwood; resident salmonids

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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