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    Wilderness areas in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina are set aside to preserve characteristics of both old-growth and second-growth forests and associated streams. Woody debris loadings, trout habitat, and trout were inventoried in three southern Appalachian wilderness streams in North Carolina by the basin-wide visual estimation technique. Two streams in old-growth wilderness areas contained more large woody debris (LWD, diameter > 10 cm) and more and smaller pools and riffles than did a stream in a second-growth area managed as wilderness. Furthermore, the size distribution of woody debris in the second-growth stream was skewed to smaller size-classes than that in the old-growth streams. Brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, and brown trout Salmo trutta in the three streams were always found in habitat units that had large amounts of LWD but were present in only 70-90% of the large number of units with little or no LWD. In the absence of high fishing pressure, the stream with large amounts of LWD supported higher trout density and biomass than the stream with little or no LWD. These old-growth streams provide a benchmark against which recovery of previously disturbed streams may be compared. Furthermore, if the goal for restoration of trout habitat is to recreate old-growth stream conditions, these two old-growth wilderness streams provide a basis for selecting appropriate amounts and sizes of LWD.

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    Flebbe, Patricia A.; Dolloff, C. Andrew. 1995. Trout Use of Woody Debris and Habitat in Appalachian Wilderness Streams of North Carolina. North American Jounral of Fisheries Management 15:579-590, 1995.

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