Forest practices affect aquatic ecosystems through changes to water quality (e.g., temperature, sedimentation) although the mechanisms are not well understood. This report examines the biophysical structuring of aquatic habitats in riparian ecosystems by examining the efficacy of riparian reserve zones as they relate to hydraulic habitats and stream productivity. Results indicate that periphyton productivity was affected by the interaction of nearbed flows and substrates. Periphyton was significantly higher on more embedded substrates (less rough) deployed in streams, and streams with less riparian forest cover had significantly less roughness. Whereas additional fluid dynamic modelling will be needed to explain these patterns, the results indicate that biophysical consequences of forest practices affect forest stream ecosystems. In addition, these approaches provide a novel means for determining the efficacy of riparian reserve strips. Stephen Dewhurst, Andra Bismanis.
Dewhurst, Stephen, Bismanis, Andra; University of Northern British Columbia. 2003. Final project report: developing spatial and temporal criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management in northern British Columbia using historical documentation. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2003MR363