Evaluating buffer strips along boreal streams using bryophtes as indicators
2002 (English)In: Ecological Applications, ISSN 1051-0761, E-ISSN 1939-5582, Vol. 12, no 3, 797-806 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Buffer strips have recently become the main management practice for reducing logging impact on stream habitats in boreal and temperate regions. The habitat value of buffer strips, however, has not received much attention, although riparian forests belong to the systems with the highest biodiversity in these regions. We used plants as indicators of the ability of buffer strips to maintain an environment similar to intact riparian forests in a boreal forest landscape in northern Sweden. We measured the growth of three common bryophyte species (Hylocomiastrum umbratum, Calypogeia integristipula, and Tritomaria quinquedentata) transplanted to riparian habitat close to a stream in clear-cut logged sites 10-15 m wide buffer strips on each side of the stream, and intact (reference) sites. Each of the three site categories included six wet and six tnoist-mesic sites and the experiment was followed over three months in 1999. The species remained vital in the reference sites and grew substantially during the 3-mo-long experiment, but in the logged sites almost no growth was registered, and many shoots died (except for T. qninquedentata). The pattern was consistent irrespective of the ground moisture class. The performance of bryophytes in the moist-mesic buffer strips was almost as bad as in the logged sites, whereas in the wet buffer strips it was either intermediate between that in logged and reference sites (H. umbratum) or very similar to that in reference sites (C. integristipula and T. quinquedentata). The edge effect has previously been shown to vary depending on edge orientation, edge physiognomy, and weather conditions. We found that ground moisture can be of major importance as well. Although many buffer strips function better than no strips, 20-30 m wide strips (with a stream in the middle) through a logged area consist entirely of edge habitat. Increasing the buffer width and avoiding clear-cut logging on both sides of a watercourse would be the first steps to take for improving biodiversity conservation in riparian habitats. Our results also show that bryophytes are good indicators of habitat quality and efficient tools for assessing the ecological function of buffer strips.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 12, no 3, 797-806 p.
biodiversity, boreal forests, bryophyte, buffer strips, edge effects, forestry, habitat quality, hepatic, moss, phytometer, Sweden
Ecology Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3870DOI: 10.2307/3060990ISI: 000175693800021OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-3870DiVA: diva2:142760