Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y071300

    Downed wood in riparian areas and its contribution to stand-level biodiversity
Project lead: Richardson, John
Imprint: Vancouver, BC : University of British Columbia, 2007
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Wood, Deterioration, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
Large, downed wood (LDW) is well known as an important structural feature of forests contributing to the maintenance of biodiversity, through its many roles as cover (thermal and security) for many organisms. It also contributes to maintenance of particular micro-climatic conditions suitable for establishment of certain plants, fungi, and bryophytes. In riparian areas, one of the primary management objectives has been the reserve of trees as shade and future wood supply to streams. However, LDW in riparian areas is also likely to contribute to biodiversity directly, or through indirect food-web effects. We propose to examine the contribution of large wood to riparian areas through two main activities. The first is a description of patterns of biological diversity across a suite of sites relative to the amount of LDW, i.e., using natural variation between sites. The second activity is a proposed experimental manipulation by adding downed wood through falling suppressed and stressed trees in sites paired with unmanipulated control plots along the same stream. This has several management implications. For one, salvage of downed wood, for instance after windthrow, may occur because wood is not perceived as maintaining its function to shade streams and provide in-stream structure. This is also relevant to the future of riparian area management and whether thinning and wood retention within riparian areas might be considered a valuable activity in the maintenance of stand-level biodiversity.
Related projects:  FSP_Y082300FSP_Y093300
Contact: Richardson, John S., (604) 822-6586,

Updated August 16, 2010 

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