The role of forest stream corridor characteristics in influencing stream and riparian ecology
Evers, Stephanie L.
PublisherUniversity of Glasgow
MetadataShow full item record
This PhD thesis seeks to consider conifer forestry stream corridor design in relation to both in-stream and riparian zone biodiversity and functioning. The contribution, availability and source of basal resources within varying corridor conditions are the focus of this project. This approach is combined with surveys of community diversity on a number of key trophic scales in order to determine how the corridor characteristics and their associated resource availability, affects community structure. The effects of varying design and management of the riparian buffer zones within afforested stream systems on in-stream and overall habitat diversity and functioning remains largely unknown. Although guidelines have been implemented for several years (Forest and Water Guidelines, Forestry Commission), recommendations, although based on sound assumptions, are subjective assessments and tend not based on scientific research or data. As such, the premise of this project is to consider a variety of corridor physical parameters adjacent to low-order streams within two afforested catchments in South-West Scotland, between 2003 and 2005, in order to contribute to the understanding of system functioning within the limitations of forestry land-use and management. A number of different approaches were employed in order to define the proportional contributions of allochthonous and autochthonous material within the benthos of the stream systems. This was done in order to define resource availability, biofilm characteristics, stream functioning and the role of corridor design in influencing resource availability. Yet, despite significant autochthonous productivity, allochthonous organic matter was the primary resource utilised by many taxa. However, conversely, light regime was found to be fundamental in shaping production and community structure within these ecosystems. Consequently, here I explore a number of different trophic scale responses to riparian conditions in order to define the biotic responses to variation of resource availability, with the aim of contributing information which may aid in design and management of afforested riparian zones.