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Greater phosphorus uptake in forested headwater streams modified by clearfell forestry

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 13:47 authored by Burrows, RM, Fellman, JB, Regina MagierowskiRegina Magierowski, Leon BarmutaLeon Barmuta
Clearfell, burn and sow (CBS) forestry can potentially alter stream environments by increasing available light and the input of woody debris. However, little is known about how CBS forestry affects in-stream processes such as nutrient uptake. We evaluate whether short-term(2–7 years) environmental changes (e.g. light availability and woody debris) associated with CBS forestry lead to differences in nutrient uptake metrics. To do this, we measured in-stream uptake of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and ammonium (NH4) in three old growth (OG) and four CBS-affected headwater stream reaches. The abundance of fine woody debris and light availability were significantly greater in CBS-affected than in OG reaches. Uptake velocities varied from 0.0880 to 0.951 mm min-1 for NH4 and from 0.0383 to 1.06 mm min-1 for SRP across all sites. The mean uptake of SRP, but not NH4, was significantly greater (i.e. higher uptake velocities and lower uptake lengths) in CBS-affected than in OG reaches. These results suggest that CBS forestry altered the stream environment enabling greater SRP uptake relative to OG reaches. Our findings highlight the tight linkage between headwater streams and their surrounding terrestrial environment, which has direct implications for catchment-scale biogeochemical processes.


Publication title









School of Natural Sciences


Springer Netherlands

Place of publication

Dordrecht, The Netherlands

Rights statement

Copyright 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems

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