Canadian Forest Service Publications

Fine sediment deposition in streams after selective forest harvesting without riparian buffers. 2001. Kreutzweiser, D.P.; Capell, S.S. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 31: 2134-2142.

Year: 2001

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 20524

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Fine sediment accumulation was measured in streams in low-order forest watersheds across a gradient of selective harvesting with no protective riparian buffers. Comparisons were made among sites in selection-cut (40% canopy removal), shelterwood-cut (50% canopy removal), diameter limit cut (about 85% canopy removal), and undisturbed tolerant hardwood catchments. These were further compared with a headwater stream catchment not harvested but affected by logging road activities. The greatest increase in fine inorganic sediment occurred at the road-improvement site with mean bedload estimates more than 4000 times higher than pre-manipulation values. Sediment bedload was still significantly elevated 2 years after the road-improvement activities. Significant increases (up to 1900 times the preharvest average) in inorganic sediment also occurred at the highly disturbed diameter-limit site as a result of heavy ground disturbance and channeled flowpaths from skidder activity in riparian areas. Similar increases were detected at the selection-cut site but were attributable to secondary road construction in the runoff area. In the shelterwood harvest area, where logging roads were not a factor, no measurable increases in sediment deposition were detected. There was little indication that harvesting activities at any site affected the organic fraction or the particle size distribution of fine sediments. The results of this study suggest that riparian buffer zones may not be necessary for selective harvesting in hardwood forests at up to 50% removal, at least in terms of reducing sediment inputs.