Get access

Wood dynamics in upland streams under different disturbance regimes


Correspondence to: Leonora King, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of British Columbia Okanagan, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7, Canada.


This paper presents reach scale large wood (LW) budgets of 12 upland streams in the Okanagan Basin of British Columbia. The study included 100 m long reaches at three wildfire sites and three undisturbed sites in the Interior Douglas-fir (IDF) biogeoclimatic zone, and three recent Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) infestation sites and three undisturbed sites in the Montane Spruce (MS) zone. Detailed information on wood recruitment, output and storage were obtained from repeated annual surveys. Recruitment from the riparian zone was found to dominate wood inputs, with fluvial import of secondary importance. In undisturbed streams, wood exhumation was found to be of tertiary importance, but was not observed in disturbed streams. Relative wood length was found to be a strong predictor of wood stability, with wood length to channel width and wood diameter to channel depth ratios of 1:1 forming an approximate maximum threshold of wood mobility. Volumetric decomposition was, on average, a third of the value of fluvial export, and the average residence time of wood in the channels was 20 years. In undisturbed reaches, wood storage indicated a slow depletion of wood from the channels. In the disturbed reaches, wildfire was found to significantly increase annual wood recruitment by more than an order of magnitude over undisturbed or control streams. MPB had not significantly increased LW recruitment, but is expected to increase over the coming decades. Storage rates at the disturbed streams indicated a net accumulation of wood over the study period. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.