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Effects of forest fire on headwater stream macroinvertebrate communities in eastern Washington, U.S.A.

TitleEffects of forest fire on headwater stream macroinvertebrate communities in eastern Washington, U.S.A.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsMellon, CD, Wipfli, MS, Li, JL
JournalFreshwater Biology
Volume53
Pagination2331–2343
Abstract

1. Recent increases in fire frequency in North America have focused interest onpotential effects on adjacent ecosystems, including streams. Headwaters could beparticularly affected because of their high connectivity to riparian and downstreamaquatic ecosystems through aquatic invertebrate drift and emergence.2. Headwater streams from replicated burned and control catchments were sampledin 2 years following an intense forest fire in northeastern Washington (U.S.A.). Wecompared differences in benthic, drift and emergent macroinvertebrate density, biomass andcommunity composition between five burned and five unburned catchments (14–135 ha).3. There were significantly higher macroinvertebrate densities in burned than controlsites for all sample types. Macroinvertebrate biomass was greater at burned sites onlyfrom emergence samples; in benthic and drift samples there was no significantdifference between burn and control sites.4. For all sample types, diversity was lower in the burned catchments, and themacroinvertebrate community was dominated by chironomid midges.5. Compared to the effects of fire in less disturbed ecosystems, this study illustratedthat forest fire in a managed forest may have greater effects on headwater macroinvertebratecommunities, influencing prey flow to adjacent terrestrial and downstreamaquatic habitats for at least the first 2 years post-fire.

DOI10.1111/j.1365-2427.2008.02039.x
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