Reach-scale effects of riparian forest cover on urban stream ecosystems

Roy, A. H., Faust, C. L. , Freeman, M. C. and Meyer, J. L. (2005) Reach-scale effects of riparian forest cover on urban stream ecosystems. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 62(10), pp. 2312-2329. (doi: 10.1139/f05-135)

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We compared habitat and biota between paired open and forested reaches within five small streams (basin area 1020 km2) in suburban catchments (9%49% urban land cover) in the Piedmont of Georgia, USA. Stream reaches with open canopies were narrower than forested reaches (4.1 versus 5.0 m, respectively). There were no differences in habitat diversity (variation in velocity, depth, or bed particle size) between open and forested reaches. However, absence of local forest cover corresponded to decreased large wood and increased algal chlorophyll a standing crop biomass. These differences in basal food resources translated into higher densities of fishes in open (9.0 individuals·m2) versus forested (4.9 individuals·m2) reaches, primarily attributed to higher densities of the herbivore Campostoma oligolepis. Densities of terrestrial invertebrate inputs were higher in open reaches; however, trends suggested higher biomass of terrestrial inputs in forested reaches and a corresponding higher density of terrestrial prey consumed by water column feeding fishes. Reach-scale biotic integrity (macroinvertebrates, salamanders, and fishes) was largely unaffected by differences in canopy cover. In urbanizing areas where catchment land cover drives habitat and biotic quality, management practices that rely exclusively on forested riparian areas for stream protection are unlikely to be effective at maintaining ecosystem integrity.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Faust, Christina
Authors: Roy, A. H., Faust, C. L., Freeman, M. C., and Meyer, J. L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Publisher:NRC Research Press
ISSN (Online):1205-7533
Published Online:12 April 2011

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