In forested watersheds, in-stream large woody debris (LWD) plays an important ecological role in providing habitat for fish, reptiles and birds, transferring energy, foods and nutrients, and influencing channel morphology and pool formation. Particularly, LWD forms one of the most important ecological linkages between forests and aquatic environments through the processes of input, output and transpiration. Although there has been a large body of literature on the role of LWD in streams, most of this literature has focused on determination of the characteristics of LWD in forested stream systems, and few studies have taken place on the recruitment and transportation processes of LWD in aquatic environments. The purpose of this three-year continuous research project is to assess the impacts of wildfire disturbance and mountain pine beetle infestation on LWD recruitment and transportation processes. The project will also provide important information for a better understanding of dynamic properties of LWD and development of a complete LWD budget model in forested headwater streams of the BC interior. In the BC interior landscapes, wildfire and mountain pine beetle infestation are primary natural disturbances influencing the heterogeneity, patchiness, and diversity of terrestrial landscapes as well as the lotic ecosystems that drain these landscapes. These natural disturbances are important components in the watershed ecosystems. The recent Okanagan mountain park fire occurred in 2003 as well as large-scale mountain pine beetle infestation in the BC interior have generated a significant opportunity to assess the impacts of natural disturbances on aquatic habitats, functions and services of the forested watershed ecosystems. Understanding ecological impacts of these natural disturbances will have important ramifications for designing forest and watershed strategies to maintain integrity of aquatic systems.
Adam Wei, Xiaoyong Chen, Rob Scherer.
Wei, Adam, Chen, Xiaoyong; Scherer, Rob. 2006. Long-term evaluation of impacts of wildfire and mountain pine beetle infestation on large woody debris recruitment and transportation processes. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2006MR153