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1 June 2013 Biotic Drivers of Stream Planform: Implications for Understanding the Past and Restoring the Future
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Abstract

Traditionally, stream channel planform has been viewed as a function of larger watershed and valley-scale physical variables, including valley slope, the amount of discharge, and sediment size and load. Biotic processes serve a crucial role in transforming channel planform among straight, braided, meandering, and anabranching styles by increasing stream-bank stability and the probability of avulsions, creating stable multithread (anabranching) channels, and affecting sedimentation dynamics. We review the role of riparian vegetation and channel-spanning obstructions—beaver dams and logjams—in altering channel-floodplain dynamics in the southern Rocky Mountains, and we present channel planform scenarios for combinations of vegetation and beaver populations or old-growth forest that control logjam formation. These conceptual models provide understanding of historical planform variability throughout the Holocene and outline the implications for stream restoration or management in broad, low-gradient headwater valleys, which are important for storing sediment, carbon, and nutrients and for supporting a diverse riparian community.

© 2013 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions Web site at www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp.
Lina E. Polvi and Ellen Wohl "Biotic Drivers of Stream Planform: Implications for Understanding the Past and Restoring the Future," BioScience 63(6), 439-452, (1 June 2013). https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2013.63.6.6
Published: 1 June 2013
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