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Simulating the Effects of Forest Management on Large Woody Debris in Streams in Northern Idaho

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Existing models for simulating large woody debris (LWD) loads of forest streams were adapted for forest conditions in northern Idaho. Effects of riparian management prescriptions implemented for streams within a habitat conservation planning area for bull trout and other sensitive species were evaluated based on riparian and instream LWD conditions observed along 58 randomly selected stream segments. A wood budgeting system presented by Welty et al. (2002. Riparian aquatic interaction simulator (RAIS): A model of riparian forest dynamics for the generation of large woody debris and shade. For. Ecol. Manage. 162:299–318) was employed through use of observed starting instream LWD loads and generalized depletion rates. LWD recruitment estimates were based on locally relevant growth and yield simulators, taper equations, and adjustments for tree fall directional bias. LWD loading, expressed as the number of qualifying pieces per 1,000 ft of stream, was examined under two scenarios: a no-harvest scenario and a harvest scenario. Results indicated no significant difference in the frequency distribution of simulated LWD loading between the no-harvest and harvest scenarios over a 100-year prediction period. Examination of our assumptions indicated that LWD loading was likely underestimated and less variable than would be expected. However, these assumptions had equal effects on each scenario, enabling us to confidently interpret the effects of timber harvest. The nature and extent of riparian forest harvesting evaluated in this simulation is similar to levels being considered elsewhere in the region. Therefore, simulation techniques demonstrated here could be applied elsewhere in the region for evaluating the potential effects of riparian management on fisheries resources.

Keywords: model; riparian management; wood loading

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • 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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