Title

Variability in Riparian Ecosystem Composition and Structure

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

The ecological function of many streams in the western United States has been altered by human activities, including logging, mining, and grazing. Concern over stream degradation has led to widespread stream restoration efforts, with an annual price tag of over a billion dollars. In western Montana, groups such as the Blackfoot Challenge, the Forest Service, Clark Fork Coalition, and Trout Unlimited are working to restore the function and ecological processes of degraded streams. An important component of this work is restoration of riparian vegetation, which has a large effect on aquatic ecosystem processes. Many riparian restoration efforts in western Montana are based on vegetation characteristics of a single or limited number of reference sites, rather than a broader assessment of mean conditions of intact riparian ecosystems. This practice, however, may compromise restoration efforts and understanding of ecological condition if there is high within and among stream variation. In this project I assessed variability in the composition and structure of intact riparian ecosystems along second order streams in western Montana, in order to improve understanding of reference ecosystems.

Category

Physical Sciences

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Apr 17th, 11:00 AM Apr 17th, 12:00 PM

Variability in Riparian Ecosystem Composition and Structure

South UC Ballroom

The ecological function of many streams in the western United States has been altered by human activities, including logging, mining, and grazing. Concern over stream degradation has led to widespread stream restoration efforts, with an annual price tag of over a billion dollars. In western Montana, groups such as the Blackfoot Challenge, the Forest Service, Clark Fork Coalition, and Trout Unlimited are working to restore the function and ecological processes of degraded streams. An important component of this work is restoration of riparian vegetation, which has a large effect on aquatic ecosystem processes. Many riparian restoration efforts in western Montana are based on vegetation characteristics of a single or limited number of reference sites, rather than a broader assessment of mean conditions of intact riparian ecosystems. This practice, however, may compromise restoration efforts and understanding of ecological condition if there is high within and among stream variation. In this project I assessed variability in the composition and structure of intact riparian ecosystems along second order streams in western Montana, in order to improve understanding of reference ecosystems.