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Effects of buffer strip retention and clearcutting on land snails in boreal riparian forests
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Landscape Ecology Group)
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Landscape Ecology Group)
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Landscape Ecology Group)
2004 (English)In: Conservation Biology, ISSN 0888-8892, E-ISSN 1523-1739, Vol. 18, no 4, 1052-1062 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We investigated the short-term effects of forest clearcutting on land snails (terrestrial gastropods) in 15 forest stands along small streams in Sweden. Two different silvicultural treatments were applied at each site: clearcutting across the stream channel and buffer strips 10 m wide on each side of the stream. Additionally, we studied 10 reference sites in unlogged riparian forests along similar-sized streams. All sites were studied before logging and then 2.5 years after logging. After clearcutting the number of individuals in a 0.5-m2 sample from each site decreased on average from 107 to 87, and the mean number of species per sample decreased from 9.9 to 7.7. Most species were negatively affected, but there were also clear differences in sensitivity. There were correlations between species survival and ground moisture. At the wettest clearcut sites with an almost intact bryophyte cover, the land snails were unaffected by clearcutting. This result suggests that wet or moist forest floors can serve as refugia even at very small spatial scales (e.g., shallow hollows, crevices). If this is an important mechanism, the spatial distribution of small habitats could be important for the long-term survival of the snail fauna or other small, dispersal-limited organisms at clearcut sites. In the buffer strips, the number of individuals decreased but not the number of species, indicating that buffer-strip retention is a good practice for protecting land snails in riparian forests. The varying effectiveness of the buffer strip could partly be explained by the proportion of the remaining basal area, emphasizing that buffer strips could be even more effective if efforts are made to avoid heavy damage by windthrows.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Boston: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. Vol. 18, no 4, 1052-1062 p.
Keyword [en]
buffer strip, clearcutting, green tree retention, land snails, riparian reserves, terrestrial gastropods
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3869DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00199.xOAI: diva2:142759
Available from: 2004-04-15 Created: 2004-04-15 Last updated: 2013-10-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Living on the edge: effectiveness of buffer strips in protecting biodiversity on boreal riparian forests
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Living on the edge: effectiveness of buffer strips in protecting biodiversity on boreal riparian forests
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The objective of this thesis is to evaluate the ecological consequences of buffer strip retention on riparian and terrestrial biodiversity. Earlier studies on forest buffer strips have evaluated their effectiveness in relation to water quality and aquatic biota. However, forests along streams are species rich habitats for many organism groups. Buffer strip management is assumed to be important also for protecting such species. Current approaches to biodiversity-oriented forest management practices need to be scientifically evaluated. In this thesis the effects on bryophytes and land snails have been evaluated.

A before-and-after experiment along 15 small streams in northern Sweden showed that buffer strips of 10 m on each side of the stream moderated the negative effects exhibited at the clear-cuts. The number of land snail species remained similar as to before logging and the number of vanished bryophyte species was lower in the buffer strips than in the clear-cuts. The ground moisture influenced the survival rate of land snails at the clear-cuts. At mesic sites many species vanished but at wet sites the snail fauna was unaffected by the logging.

Many bryophyte species, most of them liverworts, decreased or disappeared in the buffer strips. These were mostly growing on substrates elevated from the forest floor, such as logs, stumps and tree-bases. A number of nationally red-listed species, sensitive for changes in microclimate, were among those decreasing most. Thus, for the species in most need of protection the buffer strips were too narrow.

An experiment with bryophyte transplants followed over a season showed that wet ground moisture moderated the negative edge effects in narrow buffer strips. On the other hand, the growth in mesic and moist sites was almost as low as in comparable clear-cuts.

Microclimatic edge effects are stronger at south facing than north-facing edges of forest clear-cuts. This was shown in an experiment using bryophyte growth as an indicator of differences in microclimate. However, the depth of edge influence seemed to be similar between north- and south-facing forest edges, >30 m for one species. An explanation for this could be that wind penetrates deeper into edges than solar radiation and has a more variable direction.

In conclusion, narrow buffer strips consist entirely of edge habitat. For many species the environment in buffer strips is good enough for persistence. For others, most notably bryophyte species on convex substrates, wider buffer strips are needed to ensure long-term survival.

35 p.
Ecology, boreal forest, bryophyte, buffer strip, ecological boundary, edge effect, headwater stream, land snail, liverwort, moss, phytometer, riparian forest, substrate, terrestrial gastropod, Ekologi
National Category
Research subject
Ecological Botany
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-233 (URN)91-7305-611-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-05-07, P.O. Bäckströms sal, SLU, Umeå, 10:00
Available from: 2004-04-15 Created: 2004-04-15Bibliographically approved

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Hylander, KristofferNilsson, ChristerGöthner, Tove
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