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Keywords:

  • wood debris;
  • restoration;
  • jam structure;
  • hydraulics

Abstract

The natural tendency of woody debris to accumulate into complex debris jams has been adapted by the restoration industry because of the morphological and ecological benefits of these structures. While much work has been done on woody debris, there is a lack of understanding of the dynamics of debris jams including the controls on their formation and the associated changes in hydraulics. Treatment of jams as static structures, whose hydraulics may be described by that of a single-solid object, prevents optimal success of wood-based restoration projects. This paper reviews the state of the science on the initiation and accumulation of wood forming a debris jam. This review is used to develop a conceptual model of the evolution of a single debris jam focussing on the relationship between the structure and hydraulics and the feedback that exists between them. The proposed mechanisms behind debris jam evolution are supported by a case-study of three natural jams. Incorporation of this model into restoration and management plans will result in more successful and cost-efficient projects. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.