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SFS Annual Meeting

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Despite a suite of provincial guidelines working in concert with federal policy to promote sustainable forestry in Canada, legacies of ecosystem degradation persist, many of which are specific to aquatic environments. Forest harvesting-induced impacts to small headwater streams tend to be well-studied and reasonably predictable, but it is lesser known whether impacts occurring upstream magnify or dissipate in larger downstream areas. In response, this study examines whether impacts caused by selection-based harvesting of mixed hardwood stands on the northeastern shore of Lake Superior accumulate spatially in forest streams. Indicators to quantify impact at sites along a spatial gradient include water temperature and chemistry, sediment deposition, leaf-litter decomposition and associated invertebrate community structure, bioaccumulation and biomagnification of methylmercury, and analysis of the terrestrial contribution to stream consumer diet. These analyses will help to determine if best management practices designed to protect against stand level impacts are effective at broader spatial scales. Moreover, a comprehensive and predictive understanding of the spatially cumulative impacts associated with harvesting is critical to maintaining healthy future forests and their provisioning of aquatic ecosystem services.

Karen Kidd (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), McMaster University,;

Michelle Gray (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of New Brunswick,;

David Kreutzweiser (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service,;

Erik Emilson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service,;

Paul Sibley (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Guelph, ;

Nelson O'Driscoll (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Acadia University,;

Kelli Charbonneau (Primary Presenter/Author), University of New Brunswick,;