Title: Characteristics of small headwater wetlands in second-growth forests of Washington, U.S.A
Author: Janisch, Jack E.; Foster, Alex D.; Ehinger, William J.
Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 261: 1265-1274
Description: In 2002, we initiated a study to clarify the response of headwater catchments to logging on timberlands in the Coast Range of Washington, USA. Most of the predominantly first-order streams studied (summer low flows typically <0.3 Ls-1) were hydrologically complex, consisting of a main surface channel connected to multiple, small wetlands. To better understand the forest management implications of headwater systems with two surface hydrology components of potentially differing areal extents (i.e., broad wetlands and narrow, channelized flow), we examined in more detail the wetlands associated with 30 headwater channels. On average, 2.3 wetlands occurred per channel. All 68 surveyed wetlands were, individually, smaller than 0.1 ha, which is a minimum survey-and-manage size criterion for forested wetlands in use in the Pacific Northwest. Seventy-nine percent of the wetlands surveyed by the full-triad method met regional wetland triad criteria for wetland delineation (qualifying wetland soils, hydrology, and vegetation indicators). These headwater wetlands were associated with several landscape variables: (1) northerly-facing catchments, (2) perennial surface water, and (3) down, channel-associated large wood originating from adjacent riparian forest. Our results show that small forested wetlands are quite common and that the surface area of small wetlands can rival the surface area of the associated first-order
streams. This initial effort to quantify characteristics of small headwater wetlands suggests small wetlands could dominate or influence headwater surface area processes including those associated with stream responses to disturbances such as logging.
Keywords: forested wetlands, headwaters, logging, down wood, amphibians, seep, Pacific Northwest
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Janisch, Jack E.; Foster, Alex D.; Ehinger, William J. 2011. Characteristics of small headwater wetlands in second-growth forests of Washington, U.S.A. Forest Ecology and Management. 261: 1265-1274.