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Applying four principles of headwater system aquatic biology to forest managementAuthor(s): Robert J. Danehy; Sherri L. Johnson
Source: In: Anderson, P.D.; Ronnenberg, K.L., eds. Density management in the 21st century: west side story. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-880. Portland, OR: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 189–202.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (289.82 KB)
DescriptionHeadwater systems, including the channel and the adjacent riparian forest, are a dominant landscape feature in forested watersheds, draining most of the watershed area, and comprising the majority of channel length in drainage networks. Being at the upper extent of watersheds, these systems are smaller and steeper than large streams, and create microhabitats that support diverse instream communities distinct from those in larger streams. Forest management can disturb headwater streams through changes in physical structure, sediment, light, and riparian detrital inputs. Locally, the extent of the buff er surrounding the system mediates disturbance intensity and responses. At broader scales, the eff ect of the shifting mosaic of stand ages across a landscape is less well-described. In addition, as watersheds are periodically harvested, long-term impacts of repeated canopy removal are unclear. We synthesize recent research from western Oregon and Washington focused on forest eff ects on headwater stream ecology. We draw on over twenty published manuscripts from Pacific Northwest (PNW) research, as well as seminal work from beyond the PNW. Findings of these studies are examined in light of four principles for managing forest near streams: system (the stream and riparian area as a system); flow (sources and duration); disturbance (types and frequency); and topography (elevation, gradient, and aspect). The interaction between local influences and landscape drivers varies among headwater systems. Nevertheless, the underlying infl uences on headwater system ecology are repeatedly demonstrated in recent work. Consideration of these principles in planning ongoing forest management activities can promote the stewardship of headwater systems.
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CitationDanehy, Robert J.; Johnson, Sherri L. 2013. Applying four principles of headwater system aquatic biology to forest management. In: Anderson, P.D.; Ronnenberg, K.L., eds. Density management in the 21st century: west side story. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-880. Portland, OR: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 189–202.
KeywordsHeadwater, headwater systems, fl ow regime, disturbance, landscape, biodiversity.
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