There exists a great deal of uncertainty and controversy surrounding the impacts of streamside timber harvesting practices on small stream ecosystems and their salmonid populations. For example, studies in the scientific literature often report conflicting results, with some studies reporting largely detrimental impacts whereas other studies report benign or even beneficial effects (e.g., see the compendia edited by Meehan 1991 and Salo and Cundy 1987). Even the most recent compilation of fish-forestry studies edited by Northcote and Hartman (2004) underscores the variety of stream ecosystem responses to logging that have been observed. This confusion makes it difficult for resource practitioners to make scientifically defensible management decisions surrounding the protection and sustainability of British Columbia?s natural fisheries and forestry resources. To that end, a broad-scale synthesis and analysis of existing scientific data related to the impacts of forestry operations on small stream ecosystems is of paramount importance for providing managers with the appropriate tools with which to make policy decisions, an exercise which to our knowledge has never been published. Furthermore, because stream temperature is of overriding importance in determining not only fish distribution, physiology, growth and bioenergetic allocations but also other stream ecosystem aspects (such as stream invertebrate production), the ability to forecast potential stream temperature changes resulting from logging would provide resource managers with additional, vital tools to allow them to conduct risk-analyses and to formulate overall management policies. We therefore propose two complementary approaches to bridge this knowledge gap: a meta-analysis of existing, published scientific fish-forestry data and the application of a predictive stream temperature model using existing stream temperature and fish inventory data that have been collected throughout BC. Ultimately, these results will allow resources managers to forecast potential post-logging changes in small stream ecosystems throughout BC, and will complement other, current fish-forestry field research being carried out by allowing researchers to determine if the variables we identify as being important (and the post-logging changes we predict will occur) correspond to their own results.
Hinch, Scott G.. 2007. Broad-scale investigation of the effects of streamside clear-cut timber harvesting on small stream ecosystems in British Columbia: analyses of large-scale databases to forecast impacts on physical and thermal habitats and their salmonid populations. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2007MR288
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), Salmonidae, British, Columbia
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