Canadian Forest Service Publications

Large woody debris characteristics and contributions to pool formation in forest streams of the Boreal Shield. 2005. Kreutzweiser, D.P.; Good, K.P.; Sutton, T.M. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35: 1213-1223.

Year: 2005

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26446

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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The inputs, characteristics, and function of large woody debris (LWD) were assessed in 16 mid-order (average channel widths of 3–7 m), moderate-gradient (approx. 1%–5% channel slopes) streams in mixedwood forests of the Boreal Shield in Ontario. Three of the streams were adjacent to clearcuts, with the remainder in areas that have not been logged or recently (>70 years) burned. The average frequency (19.9 pieces·100 m–1) and size (mean diameter 16.7 cm) of LWD in these streams were less than reported in most other regions and forest types. Averaged across sites, input sources were undetermined for about 50% of the LWD owing to fluvial displacement from the points of origin. Natural mortality (24%) and windthrow (15%) were primary input sources of the remaining LWD. Windthrow was highly variable and mostly associated with nearby clear-cut logging. At the three sites near clearcuts, windthrow contributed 34%–62% of LWD in streams. In study reaches where active beaver colonies were observed, beaver-felled trees accounted for up to 47% of LWD inputs. The average frequency of debris dams (2.4 dams·100 m–1) was less than those reported from studies in other areas and was positively correlated with an index of bottom substrate size (r = 0.72). Less than 15% of the pools in these streams were formed or influenced by LWD. Most wood pieces appeared to be ineffective as pool-forming agents because of their relatively small size and instability. In these Boreal Shield forests, it appears that most riparian trees do not live long enough or grow to sufficient size to contribute functional LWD and influence stream morphology or pool formation.