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Influence of woody debris on channel structure in old growth and managedforest streams in central Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2004 (English)In: Environmental Management, ISSN 0364-152X, E-ISSN 1432-1009, Vol. 33, no 3, 376-384 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Anecdotal information suggests that woody debris have had an important channel-forming role in Swedish streams and rivers, but there are few data to support this view. We identified 10 streams within near-natural and 10 streams within managed forest landscapes in central Sweden, and quantified their channel characteristics and content of woody debris. All pieces of woody debris greater than 0.5 m in length and greater than 0.05 m in base diameter were included. The near-natural forests were situated in reserves protected from forest cutting, whereas the managed forests had previously faced intensive logging in the area adjacent to the stream, The two sets of streams did not differ in general abiotic characteristics such as width, slope, or boulder cover, but the number of wood pieces was twice as high and the wood volume almost four times as high in the near-natural streams. This difference resulted in a higher frequency of debris dams in the near-natural streams. Although the total pool area did not differ between the two sets of streams, the wood-formed pools were larger and deeper, and potentially ecologically more important than other pools. In contrast to what has been believed so far, woody debris can be a channel-forming agent also in steeper streams with boulder beds. In a step-wise multiple regression analysis, pool area was positively and most strongly related to the quantity of woody debris, whereas channel gradient and wood volume were negatively related. The frequency of debris dams increased with the number of pieces of woody debris, but was not affected by other variables. The management implications of this study are that the wood quantity in streams in managed forests would need to be increased if management of streams will target more pristine conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 33, no 3, 376-384 p.
Keyword [en]
Conservation of Natural Resources/statistics & numerical data, Forestry, Rivers, Sweden, Trees, Wood
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-7889DOI: 10.1007/s00267-003-3042-2ISI: 000221646400009PubMedID: 15031768OAI: diva2:147560
Available from: 2008-01-13 Created: 2008-01-13 Last updated: 2013-10-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Function and dynamics of woody debris in boreal forest streams
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Function and dynamics of woody debris in boreal forest streams
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The work in this thesis deals with (1) the effects of woody debris on stream channel morphology and retention of organic material, and (2) the dynamics of woody debris and its relation to riparian forest history and composition. The studied stream reaches are situated in mature, productive forests in the boreal zone of Sweden.

Wood variables were important predictors of the frequency of debris dams, pool area, the proportion of pools formed by wood, and variation in the bankfull channel width. Pools formed by woody debris were mainly created by damming and had larger surface areas and residual depths than pools formed by other agents. Stream reaches intersecting old-growth forest (with minor influence of forest management) had coarser and longer woody debris pieces, greater amounts of wood, more debris dams, and wood-formed pools compared to streams surrounded by forests influenced by selective logging.

The influence of past forest management on the quality and quantity of woody debris in streams were analyzed by using dendrochrnological methods. Selective loggings and absence of forest fires after 1831 resulted in lower input rates and a gradual replacement of pine by sruce over time. Residence times in stream channels of woody debris (>10 cm in basal diameter) were long and the oldest dated pieces of pine and spruce were over 300 and 100 years, respectively.

Dynamics of woody debris were explored by comparing wood volumes and characteristics between stream channels and their riparianforests and between old growth and managed sites. Wood volumes recorded in the stream channels exceeded, but were related to, the volumes found in the riparian forests. Limited input of woody debris by bank cutting and absence of slope processes suggest that recruitment processes of woody debri to stream channels are similar as in riparian forests and slow decay in channels results in greater volumes.

The retentiveness of organic material in stream channels was examined by using release and capture experiments in multiple reaces during varying discharges using different sizes of leaf mimics. Sixty eight percent of the variation in retention was explained by a multiple regression model including discharge and leaf mimic siz. Between 44 and 80% of the variation in retention among reaches was explained by channel constraint, gravel coverage, and woody debris variables as the most important. Estimates from a partial least squares (PLS) model suggest an increase in mean transport distances by 22 to 53% in managed forest streams compared to old growth conditions and in a low wood scenario, mean transport distances increased by 38 to 99% with larger increases for higher discharges and larger particle sizes.

To regain more pristine conditions of stream channels, management and restoration are needed to increase the amount of woody debris that recreates lost channel structures and increaes the retention of organic material.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Ekologi och geovetenskap, 2005. 21 p.
Ecology, Boreal forest,  CPOM,  CWD,  forest management,  geomorphology,  LWD,  riparian forest,  retention,  residence time,  streams,  Sweden,  woody debris, Ekologi
National Category
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-425 (URN)91-7305-799-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-02-11, 10:00
Available from: 2005-01-26 Created: 2005-01-26 Last updated: 2013-10-04Bibliographically approved

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