Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y071040

    Alternative indicators of the integrity of stream function as an assessment of sustainable forest management
Project lead: Richardson, John
Contributing Authors: Antos, Joseph A.; Parish, Roberta; Nigh, Gordon D.; Rott, Eugen; Richardson, John S.
Imprint: [Vancouver, BC] : University of British Columbia, 2007
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Sustainable Forest Management, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
Indicators of stream and riparian condition are needed as tools to allow for the determination of whether stream systems are being protected by current or alternative forest practices. In particular, smaller streams where there are few to no fish species need a suite of indicators that can be used reliably to indicate system condition and that are diagnostic of undesirable effects, but this need applies to larger streams as well. Work already underway in BC has focussed on community composition of stream benthic invertebrates as indicators of stream condition (e.g. Reece et al. 2001, Ian Sharpe et al. FSP #Y073128). It would be helpful to have additional indicators that would augment or at least complement efforts with invertebrates. In recent years, efforts to compare the concordance of measures estimated from divergent taxonomic groups (e.g. mosses versus snails versus insects) suggest that taxonomic groups vary in their sensitivity (Hylander et al. 2004), or at least are not sensitive to the same impacts or in the same direction and with the same magnitude as other taxa (e.g. Allen et al. 1999, Paszkowski & Tonn 2000, Ricketts et al. 2002, Heino et al. 2003, 2005). We propose to examine three alternative measures of stream condition, and to compare these with each other for their concordance, and also with stream benthic invertebrate assemblages (the latter of which will be collected as part of other projects). Algae form a species-rich group of organisms that should be a useful indicator, with potential advantages that samples can be processed more quickly and less equipment is necessary for sampling (Heino & Soininen 2005). Laboratories in the US have advanced the use of stream algae as bioindicators over the past decade and are now being incorporated into biological assessment procedures (e.g. Lowe & Pan 1996, Hill et al. 2000). Aquatic fungi associated with the decomposition of leaf litter (primarily hyphomycetes) are another group that contains many species and can be sampled on a small spatial scale (Gessner & Newell 2002). Finally, a functional measure that is finding increasing use in urban and agricultural settings is the rate of breakdown of leaf litter. This method was used in a broad comparison of streams across Europe over the past several years (The EU RIVFUNCTION project Gessner & Chauvet 2002, Dangles et al. 2004), and in other studies of disturbed streams (e.g. Meyer et al. 2005).
Related projects:  FSP_Y082040FSP_Y093040


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Updated August 16, 2010 

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