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1 March 2008 Leaf-litter decomposition and macroinvertebrate communities in boreal forest streams linked to upland logging disturbance
David P. Kreutzweiser, Kevin P. Good, Scott S. Capell, Stephen B. Holmes
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Abstract

Leaf-litter decomposition and associated macroinvertebrate communities were compared in standardized leaf packs across forest streams in recently clearcut (n = 9) and reference (n = 12) low-order catchments on the Boreal Shield in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Logging was conducted under best management practices that included application of 30- to 100-m-wide no-harvest buffer zones on both sides of each stream. No significant differences were detected between sites in logged and reference streams for any reach- or catchment-level characteristics (except % area logged) or water-quality variables. Coarse-mesh leaf-pack mass loss was significantly lower (t-test, p = 0.003), and the ratio of fine-mesh to coarse-mesh leaf-pack mass loss was significantly higher (t-test, p = 0.008) in logged than in reference streams, but no difference in fine-mesh leaf-pack mass loss was detected between logged and reference streams. A stepwise multiple regression model of coarse-mesh leaf-pack mass loss on 15 reach- and catchment-level characteristics indicated that only logging presence/absence (r = −0.524) and average reach velocity (r = 0.397) were significantly and independently associated with leaf-litter decomposition. Macroinvertebrate communities on leaf packs in logged streams were different from those in reference streams. Taxonomic richness was significantly lower in logged than in reference streams. A multivariate ordination and analysis of similarity separated logged from reference streams, and abundances of the 3 most discriminating taxa were significantly lower in logged than in reference streams. A multivariate BVSTEP routine indicated that macroinvertebrate community structure was most strongly associated with logging presence/absence among the suite of site characteristics. Leaf-litter decomposition and aquatic macroinvertebrate community structure were successful bioindicators of catchment logging impacts, even when logging was conducted under best management practices. Effects on litter decomposition and leaf-pack macroinvertebrate communities seem to have been caused by upland logging disturbances because riparian areas were undisturbed in logged catchments.

David P. Kreutzweiser, Kevin P. Good, Scott S. Capell, and Stephen B. Holmes "Leaf-litter decomposition and macroinvertebrate communities in boreal forest streams linked to upland logging disturbance," Journal of the North American Benthological Society 27(1), 1-15, (1 March 2008). https://doi.org/10.1899/07-034R.1
Received: 2 April 2007; Accepted: 1 September 2007; Published: 1 March 2008
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