Canadian Forest Service Publications

Emulation of natural disturbance (END) for riparian forest management: synthesis and recommendations. 2012. Sibley, P. K.; Kreutzweiser, D. P.; Naylor, B.J.; Richardson, J. S.; Gordon, A. M. Freshwater Science 31:258-264.

Year: 2012

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 33302

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1899/11-094.1

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Designing management strategies based on the emulation of natural disturbance (END) to promote long-term sustainability of riparian forests and their adjacent aquatic ecosystems is an evolving process. Conceptually, the goal of END in riparian forest management is to mimic, to the extent possible, natural disturbance processes within the range of natural variability of the ecosystem while accounting for both temporal (frequency) and spatial (size) scales of the disturbance. The application of END in riparian forests has been evaluated in a limited but growing number of studies. From these studies, the idea has emerged that END could be used as a tool to enhance forest complexity and resilience capacity through carefully implemented management strategies. In practice, however, this tool presents a formidable challenge, constrained by scientific and social uncertainty. In this BRIDGES cluster we have critically examined: 1) the historical, scientific, and practical foundations of applying END in riparian forest management as an alternative to fixed-width buffers, and 2) the extent to which mimicking natural disturbance and renewal processes can protect aquatic ecosystems through conservation of riparian and aquatic biodiversity. In this synthesis paper, we identify some of the outstanding questions and uncertainties that constrain the integration of END into riparian forest management, provide some initial guiding principles for applying END in riparian areas, and offer recommendations for future research.