Aquatic insect communities were examined in 2 streams at different selection logging intensities in headwater catchments of a northern hardwood forest. Insect communities of these streams were compared to those of a nearby reference stream (no harvesting) over a 2-y pre- and 3-y post-logging period. The experimental catchments were logged by a mechanical harvester and cable skidders, one at a low-intensity (29% basal area removal) and the other at a moderate-intensity (42% basal area removal) harvesting rate. There were no riparian reserves or buffer zones, but logging was conducted in compliance with a riparian code of practice (3-m setback from stream edges) and other best management practices. Changes in community structure, community metrics, or relative abundance of discriminatory taxa attributable to logging impacts were not detected at the low-intensity site. Some deviations from reference and pre-logging trends in community structure, multivariate dispersion, and population levels of discriminatory taxa were detected at the moderate-intensity site after the logging. These deviations were mainly driven by small, but usually significant, increases in abundance of 5 gatherer taxa. The increases in abundance of gatherer taxa appeared to be a response to a significant increase (∼2.5×) in streambed deposition of fine particulate organic material at that site. However, the shifts in community structure and changes in abundance of these taxa at the moderate-intensity site were not larger than some natural changes in abundance among other taxa at the reference site over the 5-y study. The increases in abundance of some taxa at the moderate-intensity site may indicate a logging impact, but the changes were small and there were no indications of reciprocal declines among other taxa. It appears that selection logging at up to 42% basal area removal in compliance with the riparian code of practice and other good management practices largely mitigated harmful alterations to stream habitat and insect communities in these northern hardwood forest catchments.
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