Headwater streams and forest management: does ecoregional context influence logging effects on benthic communities?
Effects of forest management on stream communities have been widely documented, but the role that climate plays in the disturbance outcomes is not understood. In order to determine whether the effect of disturbance from forest management on headwater stream communities varies by climate, we evaluated benthic macroinvertebrate communities in 24 headwater streams that differed in forest management (logged-roaded vs. unlogged-unroaded, hereafter logged and unlogged) within two ecological sub-regions (wet versus dry) within the eastern Cascade Range, Washington, USA. In both ecoregions, total macroinvertebrate density was highest at logged sites (P = 0.001) with gathering-collectors and shredders dominating. Total taxonomic richness and diversity did not differ between ecoregions or forest management types. Shredder densities were positively correlated with total deciduous and Sitka alder (Alnus sinuata) riparian cover. Further, differences in shredder density between logged and unlogged sites were greater in the wet ecoregion (logging × ecoregion interaction; P = 0.006) suggesting that differences in post-logging forest succession between ecoregions were responsible for differences in shredder abundance. Headwater stream benthic community structure was influenced by logging and regional differences in climate. Future development of ecoregional classification models at the subbasin scale, and use of functional metrics in addition to structural metrics, may allow for more accurate assessments of anthropogenic disturbances in mountainous regions where mosaics of localized differences in climate are common.
|Headwater streams and forest management: does ecoregional context influence logging effects on benthic communities?
|Coop Res Unit Leetown
|Cascade Range, Wenatchee River subbasin
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