Factors (riparian stand condition, management regimes, and channel properties) affecting distributions of wood, detritus (leaves and branches), and sediment were examined in headwater streams draining young-growth red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) - conifer riparian forests (<40 years old) in southeast Alaska. More riparian red alder were found along streams affected by both timber harvesting and mass movement than in streams affected by timber harvesting alone. Young-growth stands produced little large wood material (diameter ???10 cm) and had little effect on altering the size distribution of functional large wood in channels, although more alder wood pieces were found in streams with greater numbers of riparian alder trees. Legacy wood pieces (>40 years old) remained in channels and provided sites for sediment and organic matter storage. Despite various alder-conifer mixtures and past harvesting effects, the abundance of large wood, fine wood, and detritus accumulations significantly decreased with increasing channel bank-full width (0.5-3.5 m) along relatively short channel distances (up to 700 m). Changes in wood, detritus, and sediment accumulations together with changes in riparian stand characteristics create spatial and temporal variability of in-channel conditions in headwater systems. A component of alder within young-growth riparian forests may benefit both wood production and biological recovery in disturbed headwater stream channels. ?? 2006 NRC.
Additional publication details
Factors affecting distribution of wood, detritus, and sediment in headwater streams draining managed young-growth red alder - Conifer forests in southeast Alaska