We examined how management of young upland forests in southeastern Alaska affect riparian invertebrate taxa richness, density, and biomass, in turn, potentially influencing food abundance for fish and wildlife. Southeastern Alaska forests are dominated by coniferous trees including Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.), with mixed stands of red cedar (Thuja plicata Donn.). Red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) is hypothesized to influence the productivity of young-growth conifer forests and through forest management may provide increased riparian invertebrate abundance. To compare and contrast invertebrate densities between coniferous and alder riparian habitats, leaf litter and wood debris (early and late decay classes) samples were collected along eleven headwater streams on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, during the summers of 2000 and 2001. Members of Acarina and Collembola were the most abundant taxa collected in leaf litter with alder litter having significantly higher mean taxa richness than conifer litter. Members of Acarina were the most abundant group collected on wood debris and alder wood had significantly higher mean taxa richness and biomass than conifer wood. Alder wood debris in more advanced decay stages had the highest mean taxa richness and biomass, compared to other wood types, while conifer late decay wood debris had the highest densities of invertebrates. The inclusion of alder in young-growth conifer forests can benefit forest ecosystems by enhancing taxa richness and biomass of riparian forest invertebrates. ?? 2005 by the Northwest Scientific Association. All rights reserved.
Additional Publication Details
Headwater riparian invertebrate communities associated with red alder and conifer wood and leaf litter in southeastern Alaska