Riparian management practices have been implemented in many parts of the world with only marginal testing, and the same is true in British Columbia. This on-going experiment tests the effectiveness of fixed width buffers for the protection of stream and riparian ecosystems. By taking an ecosystems approach we are developing a landmark study of the functioning and protection of these valuable ecosystems. The fixed width trials involve 13 streams in a replicated BACI design with 3 or 4 replicates each of controls, 30 m reserves, 10 m reserves, or clear-cut to the banks. Within these sites studies of water quality, temperature, hydrology, organic matter dynamics, algae, aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians, vegetation, windthrow, and terrestrial invertebrates (amongst others) have been undertaken. The results to date indicate that even 30 m reserves are insufficient to prevent changes in the stream-riparian system, but that reserves of either 30 m or 10 m are adequate to maintain some functions in contrast to clear-cutting to the bank. The recovery dynamics of these systems are critical to understanding how long it takes to recover from a degree of change from harvesting nearby, even with reserves. Details of the results are appearing in the literature. We continued the before-harvesting study of three additional sites in preparation for partial harvesting (50% removal from riparian areas) to contrast with existing control sites, as partial harvesting has been proposed as an alternative practice in riparian areas.
John S. Richardson et al.
Richardson, John S.. 2004. Ecology and management of riparian- stream ecosystems: a large-scale experiment using alternative streamside management techniques. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2004MR216