Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Frederick Swanson; George W. Lienkaemper; James R. Sedell
    Date: 1976
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-056. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 15 p
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (621 KB)


    Large organic debris has historically been an important element in small mountain streams of the Pacific Northwest. The debris serves to slow the movement of water and inorganic and fine organic matter through the channel. Debris may remain in the channel for decades or longer, and tends to stabilize some sections of a streambed and stream banks while destabilizing other areas. The combination of clear cutting and the complete removal of large debris in a channel may deprive a stream of this natural feature of streams for a century or longer. The consequences are likely to be downcutting and channelization" of the stream, accelerated transport of fine organic and inorganic sediment, and a possible decrease in biological productivity of the stream ecosystem. Therefore, stream debris management during logging operations should include leaving undisturbed the natural, stable organic debris in the channel.

    The principal factors controlling the concentration, stability, and functions of stream debris are the history and condition of the surrounding timber stand, flushing history of the channel, stability and abundance of bedload material, steepness of the channel and adjacent hillslopes, and slope stability in the drainage. Because of this complexity, each stream presents a unique situation, which should be inspected in the field and considered on an individual basis before a debris management decision is made.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Swanson, Frederick, J.; Lienkaemper, George W.; Sedell, James R. 1976. History, physical effects, and management implications of large organic debris in western Oregon streams. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-056. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 15 p


    Stream environment, debris, mass movement, residue, western Oregon

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page