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Sorain J. Ramchunder, Lee E. Brown and Joseph Holden Rotational vegetation burning effects on peatland stream ecosystems Journal of Applied Ecology 50

Article first published online: 5 APR 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12082

This study suggests that some aspects of peatland stream ecosystems are altered in catchments with rotational vegetation burning. Currently, there is much emphasis on the effects of rotational burning on peat carbon stores, but this study is the first to document the impacts on stream biota. Agencies with a remit covering upland freshwater ecosystem management might need to consider ways of reducing the extent of rotational vegetation burning to prevent effects on lotic ecosystems, and monitor whether macroinvertebrate assemblages subsequently shift back to a status similar to those in intact peatland streams. Fire occurs commonly on peatlands throughout the world, and our results suggest that trade-offs are needed to satisfy both economic and ecological facets of the combined social–ecological systems in such areas, especially where fire is implemented as a management tool.

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