Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Towards optimizing riparian buffer zones: Ecological and biogeochemical implications for forest management
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3896-8466
Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, 901 83 Umeå, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, 901 83 Umeå, Sweden.
2014 (English)In: Forest Ecology and Management, ISSN 0378-1127, Vol. 334, 74-84 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Riparian forests (RFs) along streams and rivers in forested landscapes provide many ecosystem functions that are important for the biodiversity and biogeochemistry of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. In riverine landscapes, many of these ecological and biogeochemical functions have been found to be maximized in riparian areas with discharge of upland-originating groundwater (GW). This ecological significance, and the fact that riparian areas with GW discharge are important sources of many chemical elements in streams and rivers, makes these places important hotspots in the landscape. The natural functioning of RFs is however threatened by poorly designed management practices, with forestry being one of the most important examples in timber producing regions. Logging operations in riparian, but also in adjoining upland forests, threaten to alter many riparian functions. This effect is accelerated in GW discharge hotspots because of their sensitive soils and the high connectivity with uphill areas. We thus argue that forestry practices should give higher consideration to riparian GW discharge areas, and we demonstrate how improved riparian buffer zone management can be incorporated into every-day forestry planning. We offer a practical tool for more optimized site-specific riparian buffer design by using model-derived high resolution maps with detailed information about wetness and soil–water flow paths within RFs. We describe how such site-specific riparian buffer management differs from fixed-width buffers, which are generally applied in today’s forestry, and address some risks connected to fixed-width buffer management. We conclude that site-specific riparian management, allowing wider buffers at GW discharge areas and more narrow buffers on sites of lower ecological significance (i.e. riparian sites without GW flow paths), would benefit a variety of ecosystem services, mitigate negative effects caused by forestry and create more variable and heterogeneous riparian corridors. Finally, we show examples of how the new forestry planning can be applied.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014. Vol. 334, 74-84 p.
Keyword [en]
Ecosystem functioning, Forestry management, Groundwater discharge, Wetness mapping, Riparian buffers, Riparian hotspots
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-97967DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2014.08.033ISI: 000347739700008OAI: diva2:778587
Available from: 2015-01-11 Created: 2015-01-11 Last updated: 2015-03-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Grow with the flow: Hydrological controls of riparian vegetation in boreal stream networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Grow with the flow: Hydrological controls of riparian vegetation in boreal stream networks
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

What drives species diversity across landscapes is one of the most fundamental questions in ecology. Further, understanding the mechanisms underlying species diversity patterns is important not only for forming and challenging ecological theories but also essential for appropriate landscape management and effective nature conservation. This thesis focuses on patterns of vascular plant, moss and liverwort species richness and composition in relation to water flow in boreal-forest catchments, focusing mostly on riparian zones (RZs), that is terrestrial areas bordering streams and rivers. I addressed some of the most essential questions related to the ecology of riparian vegetation including the role of stream network position, groundwater (GW) flow paths, substrate availability, upland perturbations, and stream restoration. I also investigated how riparian soil processes and habitat properties relate to these factors in order to provide a holistic understanding of riparian dynamics. The results showed that the species richness and composition of riparian vascular plants, mosses and liverworts are strongly influenced by position along the stream network, GW discharge, presence of variable substrates in RZs, and by stream restoration. Generally, more species were found downstream in the network, at sites with inputs of upland GW, sites with high diversity of substrates (e.g., open mineral soil, rocks, stones, wood and bark), and along streams restored after channelization. This thesis also describes how riparian habitat properties responded to position in the landscape and human impacts, thus providing mechanistic links between plant species diversity and riparian processes across spatial scales. These ecological insights are further implemented into numerous recommendations for freshwater and upland management in boreal Sweden. Given that streams and rivers connect landscape elements both longitudinally and laterally I argue that management plans should be designed for entire catchments instead of individual river segments. Ignoring the connectivity of streams as well as the high connectivity of riparian areas to uplands via GW flows may result in failure of restoration, mitigation and/or protection actions. Further, during forestry operations more emphasis should be placed on GW discharge areas along streams and rivers, because they represent important ecological and biogeochemical hotspots in the landscape. The riparian buffers left along streams in boreal catchments affected by forestry are presently insufficiently wide and often uniform in width. This threatens the assemblages of species in GW discharge hotspots and the ecosystem services they provide. Overall, this thesis describes a holistic picture of riparian diversity patterns and riparian processes in boreal landscapes, acknowledges and elaborates on current ecological theories, presenting new patterns in biodiversity, and offers management guidelines. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Univeristy, 2015. 27 p.
boreal forest, channelization, groundwater, Krycklan catchment, liverworts, mosses, riparian buffers, riparian vegetation, river restoration, species richness, stream network, stream size, vascular plants
National Category
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-100217 (URN)978-91-7601-212-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-03-26, Björken, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Skogsmarksgränd 901 83, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Swedish Research Council Formas
Available from: 2015-03-05 Created: 2015-02-25 Last updated: 2015-03-09Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Kuglerová, LenkaJansson, Roland
By organisation
Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
In the same journal
Forest Ecology and Management
Environmental Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 202 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link