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Characteristics of small headwater wetlands in second-growth forests of Washington, USA. Article in the journal, Forest Ecology and Management.

Publication number Date Published
11-03-047August 2011
VIEW NOW Characteristics of small headwater wetlands in second-growth forests of Washington, USA. Article in the journal, Forest Ecology and Management. (Number of pages: 1) (Publication Size: 18KB)
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Author(s) By Janisch, J.E., A.D. Foster, and W.J. Ehinger
Description This article was published in the journal, Forest Ecology and Management, Vol 261(Issue 7), pages 1265-1274, April 1, 2011. The article is co-authored by Washington State Department of Ecology staff and U.S. Forest Service staff.

Distribution of the final version of this article is limited due to journal copyright.

Considering a little-known topic, we examined headwater-associated wetlands as part of a larger study focused on effects of forest management in headwater riparian areas. Most of the 30 predominantly first-order streams studied (summer low flows typically < 0.3 L s-1) were hydrologically complex, consisting of a main surface channel connected to multiple, small wetlands. We considered frequency, surface area, and other attributes associated with these small, cryptic wetlands.

Results suggest small headwater wetlands could dominate headwater surface processes by doubling stream surface area, and that their occurrence favors northerly aspects. This could lead to unexpected results such as northerly-facing streams warming most after logging. The frequency of these features suggests (1) the potential to influence every headwaters stream, and (2) importance as refugia to amphibians, many species of which are now in decline in the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, we observed that these features appear highly sensitive to changes in hydrology and may thus ‘flicker’ at a time scale of several years.

With surface areas well below minimum survey-and-manage size criterion for forested wetlands in use in the Northwest, the small headwater wetlands we observed are not currently inventoried. However, small headwater streams are thought to account for roughly 80% of total stream length in the Northwest. Thus, a majority of wetlands in the Northwest may remain uncataloged.
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Contact Jack Janisch at 360-407-6649
Keywords coast range, growth, Pacific Northwest, water, Ecology, management, wetland, wood
WEB PAGE Abstract and Figures

Headwater stream temperature: Interpreting response after logging, with and without riparian buffers, Washington, USA. Article in Forest Ecology and Management, 270, 302-313.