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Headwater streams and forest management: Does ecoregional context influence logging effects on benthic communities?

TitleHeadwater streams and forest management: Does ecoregional context influence logging effects on benthic communities?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMedhurst, B, Wipfli, M, Binckley, C, Polivka, K, Hessburg, P, Salter, B
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume641
Pagination71–83
Abstract

Effects of forest management on streamcommunities have been widely documented, but therole that climate plays in the disturbance outcomes isnot understood. In order to determine whether the effectof disturbance from forest management on headwaterstream communities varies by climate, we evaluatedbenthic macroinvertebrate communities in 24 headwaterstreams that differed in forest management (loggedroadedvs. unlogged-unroaded, hereafter logged andunlogged) within two ecological sub-regions (wetversus dry) within the eastern Cascade Range,Washington, USA. In both ecoregions, totalmacroinvertebrate density was highest at logged sites(P = 0.001) with gathering-collectors and shreddersdominating. Total taxonomic richness and diversity didnot differ between ecoregions or forest managementtypes. Shredder densities were positively correlatedwith total deciduous and Sitka alder (Alnus sinuata)riparian cover. Further, differences in shredder densitybetween logged and unlogged sites were greater in thewet ecoregion (logging 9 ecoregion interaction;P = 0.006) suggesting that differences in post-loggingforest succession between ecoregions were responsiblefor differences in shredder abundance. Headwaterstream benthic community structure was influencedby logging and regional differences in climate. Futuredevelopment of ecoregional classification models at thesubbasin scale, and use of functional metrics in additionto structural metrics, may allow for more accurateassessments of anthropogenic disturbances in mountainousregions where mosaics of localized differencesin climate are common.

DOI10.1007/s10750-009-0058-5
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