Journal article

Variation in stream organic matter processing among years and benthic habitats in response to forest clearfelling

Ryan M Burrows, Regina H Magierowski, Jason B Fellman, Joanne E Clapcott, Sarah A Munks, Sandra Roberts, Peter E Davies, Leon A Barmuta



We assessed rates of organic matter (OM) processing in coarse gravel and fine benthic sediment, along with water temperature, in four clearfell harvested and two undisturbed headwater streams flowing through wet eucalypt forest in southern Tasmania, Australia. Clearfell forestry in Tasmanian wet eucalypt forest involves felling of all timber followed by a high intensity regeneration burn to provide a receptive mineral seedbed for seedling growth. Bacterial carbon production and cellulose decomposition potential (together referred to as OM processing) were measured seasonally 3–5years before and 2–4years after harvesting in each stream. We employed a staircase design (staggered harvesting tre..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by ARC Linkage Grant

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank K. Hawkes, E. Polymeropoulos, T. Hollings, J. Haag, J. Fountain, S. Griffin, A. Brauniche-Olsen, J. Kramer, J. Goon, K. Kreger, C. Spencer, J. Jackson, L. Cook, M. Burrows, and B. Burrows for their field assistance. Thanks to D. Mann for her help compiling the water temperature data. The study sites were set up by J. Clapcott and J. Gooderham with the first 4 years of pre-impact observations supported by ARC Linkage Grant LP0210383 to LA. Barmuta and P.E. Davies with the Forest Practices Authority (FPA) of Tasmania as industry partner. S.A. Munks and P. McIntosh of the FPA were instrumental in the project's design and initiation, and we are grateful for their continued support through the vagaries of unpredictable funding for long-term research. We also thank Forestry Tasmania who granted access to the study sites and the staff at Geeveston for their support. RMB received a postgraduate scholarship funded by the CRC for Forestry and the School of Zoology, University of Tasmania. Further financial and in-kind support was provided by the FPA and School of Zoology at the University of Tasmania. Earlier versions of this manuscript were improved thanks to comments by Ryan Sponseller. None of the authors have a conflict of interest in the publication of this research.