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Biotic drivers of stream planform: implications for understanding the past and restoring the future
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2013 (English)In: BioScience, ISSN 0006-3568, E-ISSN 1525-3244, Vol. 63, no 6, 439-452 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Traditionally, stream channel planform has been viewed as a function of larger watershed and valley-scale physical variables, including valley slope, the amount of discharge, and sediment size and load. Biotic processes serve a crucial role in transforming channel planform among straight, braided, meandering, and anabranching styles by increasing stream-bank stability and the probability of avulsions, creating stable multithread (anabranching) channels, and affecting sedimentation dynamics. We review the role of riparian vegetation and channel-spanning obstructions-beaver dams and logjams-in altering channel-floodplain dynamics in the southern Rocky Mountains, and we present channel planform scenarios for combinations of vegetation and beaver populations or old-growth forest that control logjam formation. These conceptual models provide understanding of historical planform variability throughout the Holocene and outline the implications for stream restoration or management in broad, low-gradient headwater valleys, which are important for storing sediment, carbon, and nutrients and for supporting a diverse riparian community.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 63, no 6, 439-452 p.
Keyword [en]
stream planform, riparian vegetation, beaver, old-growth forest, restoration
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-79273DOI: 10.1525/bio.2013.63.6.6ISI: 000320743000006OAI: diva2:645123
Available from: 2013-09-03 Created: 2013-08-13 Last updated: 2013-09-03Bibliographically approved

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Polvi, Lina E
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