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Title: Effects of forest fire on headwater stream macroinvertebrate communities in eastern Washington, U.S.A.

Author: Mellon, Cassie D.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Li, Judith L.;

Date: 2008

Source: Freshwater Biology. 53: 2331-2343

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: 1. Recent increases in fire frequency in North America have focused interest on potential effects on adjacent ecosystems, induding streams. Headwaters could be particularly affected because of their high connectivity to riparian and downstream aquatic ecosystems through aquatic invertebrate drift and emergence. 2. Headwater streams from replicated burned and control catchments were sampled in 2 years following an intense forest fire in northeastern Washington (U.S.A.). We compared differences in benthic, drift, and emergent macroinvertebrate density, biomass, and community composition between five burned and five unburned catchments (14 to 135 ha). 3. There were significantly higher macroinvertebrate densities in burned than control sites for all sample types. Macroinvertebrate biomass was greater at burned sites only from emergence samples; in benthic and drift samples there was no significant difference between burn and control sites. 4. For all sample types, diversity was lower in the burned catchments, and the macroinvertebrate community was dominated by chironomid midges. 5. Compared to the effects of fire in less disturbed ecosystems, this study illustrated that forest fire in a managed forest may have greater effects on headwater macroinvertebrate communities, influencing prey flow to adjacent terrestrial and downstream aquatic habitats for at least the first 2 years postfire.

Keywords: Forest management, headwater stream, macroinvertebrate, prey subsidy, wildfire

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Mellon, Cassie D.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Li, Judith L. 2008. Effects of forest fire on headwater stream macroinvertebrate communities in eastern Washington, U.S.A. Freshwater Biology. 53: 2331-2343

 


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