Fishes and Forestry: Worldwide Watershed Interactions and Management. T G. Northcote and G. F. Hartman, eds. Blackwell, Ames, IA, 2004. 789 pp., illus. $249.99 (ISBN 0632058099 cloth).
Fishes and Forestry: Worldwide Watershed Interactions and Management is an ambitious integration of fish ecology, stream ecology, forest practices and their effects, global understanding of fish–forestry interactions, and future directions in management and education. Thomas Northcote and Gordon Hartman, the editors, are pioneers in the study of fish–forestry relationships in North America, and they have assembled 34 chapters by 55 authors from around the world. This book is the first to present a global perspective on the science and management of fish communities and forest management practices. Fish communities face major threats everywhere—habitat alteration, fish harvest, dams, hatcheries, water pollution, and climate change being prominent examples. Fishes and Forestry avoids the regional myopia that commonly limits innovations in management of fishes and forests, and expands the reader's vision of future directions in research and management on the basis of fundamental relationships that occur throughout the world.
The introductory chapter by North-cote and Hartman is an interesting overview of the extent of world forests and the richness of fish assemblages in different regions. The authors make it clear that forestry potentially affects the abundance and distribution of a large portion of the 34 orders and more than 10,000 species of fish found in streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries around the globe. They explain the extensive overlap in global patterns of precipitation, forest cover, and fish species distributions. The chapter also provides a historical context for fish–forestry interactions by summarizing changes in forest cover over the last millennium and the consequences for fish assemblages.
The second portion of the book provides an ecological overview of forest, stream, lake, and estuarine ecosystems. Scientists trained in ecosystem science will find these four chapters extremely brief and simplified. This approach may be suitable for the book's international audience, however, whose disciplines and applications vary greatly. These chapters briefly summarize major concepts in the ecology of these different ecosystems and provide numerous citations to direct the reader to the major articles in the scientific literature. Though it would have benefited from a chapter on geomorphology and hydrology, this 100-page section of the book is a useful foundation for a broad audience.
The next section includes chapters on the life history and diversity, migration and passage, reproduction, and foraging ecology of fishes. These chapters clearly are intended to inform the reader about the biological and environmental requirements of different fish species before addressing the consequences of forest practices on fish. The chapter on fish migration and passage is a concise introduction to the subject, and numerous citations are provided to guide the reader who is interested in exploring further. The chapter on reproduction provides data on the major orders of freshwater fish and includes several informative summary figures and tables. The subject of foraging ecology describes fish feeding in temperate and tropical systems, but several topics (such as energy subsidy, or the exchange of energy between adjacent ecosystems) are treated exceedingly briefly, and several major concepts in foraging ecology are completely omitted (for example, trophic cascading, competition, and environmental influences on bioenergetics).
The fourth section describes forest harvest and transportation, silviculture, and manufacturing and effluent discharges. These chapters describe general forest practices, with an emphasis on up-slope forestry. Clearly, forest practices across the landscape shape the interactions between fish and forestry, but the lack of attention to the terrestrial–aquatic interface in this work is surprising. There is no discussion of riparian reserves, streamside buffers, or riparian management zones. Even more important, there is no discussion of the effectiveness of these approaches for fish and aquatic systems. Readers can glean information on the effects of riparian buffers from the four chapters on forestry effects, but the book does not provide an overall synthesis of the approaches and their effectiveness. Silvicultural practices to maintain or restore riparian functions are not addressed in any chapter. Riparian management systems are discussed only in one of the final chapters on guidelines, codes, and legislation. This is unfortunate, because it encourages managers to view riparian practices as a legal requirement rather than a fundamental part of forest management.
The book goes on to review the effects of forestry on basin processes, lakes, estuaries, and water quality. These chapters at first seem exceedingly brief, but much of the literature on forestry effects is included in subsequent chapters on specific regions. Rather than being repetitive, the editors developed chapters that create a framework for understanding the physical, chemical, and biological effects of forestry on aquatic ecosystems and fish communities. Readers should be aware that greater detail follows in the regional reviews of fish–forestry interactions.
Two subsequent sections are devoted to fish–forestry interactions in North America and in non–North American countries. The section on North America includes the Pacific Northwest, boreal portions of Canada, Atlantic Canada, the Rocky Mountains, and Mexico. These chapters, by authorities from those regions, are informative and well written. Unfortunately, the editors were unable to obtain chapters on the northeastern, southeastern, and southwestern regions of the United States (though forests of Arizona and New Mexico are discussed in the chapter on the Rocky Mountains). The chapter on fish–forestry interactions in Mexico, by Sánchez-Vélez and García-Núñez, is a valuable contribution that outlines the geography of Mexican forests and aquatic systems. Although few studies of the effects of forestry on fishes are available for Mexico and Central America, the chapter clearly describes the resources, population pressures, history of land uses, and emerging issues related to aquaculture.
The section on non–North American countries is particularly informative, especially for North American readers. Chapters by international authors discuss fish–forestry interactions in tropical South America, western Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia, Borneo, Cambodia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia. Again, the editors unfortunately were unable to obtain chapters on some regions, in particular Russia, China, and Africa. The logging and transportation systems used in many of these regions differ markedly from those of North America and western Europe, and subsistence harvest and deforestation have profound impacts on forests in several major regions. This section provides an interesting description of regulatory systems in world forestry and reveals that illegal or unregulated harvest represents the majority of harvest in regions such as the Brazilian Amazon.
The final section of the book addresses different approaches to improving understanding and management of fish–forestry interactions: guidelines, codes, and legislation; restoration practices; education; and a new vision for fish–forestry interactions. The chapter on guidelines, codes, and legislation summarizes and compares current approaches for forest management and riparian regulation. As a vision of the future of fish–forestry interaction, the chapter on restoration briefly describes outcomes of past restoration efforts and lays out a framework for integration of watershed restoration in forest management.
One of the most important contributions of the book is the chapter on better and broader education. The authors use a Food and Agriculture Organization survey to examine the training of resource professionals around the world. Outside of North America, most forest educational centers provide only basic training in fish ecology and aquatic ecology. The chapter notes the dichotomy between training in utilitarian forest management and the broader natural resource management that has emerged in recent decades, and clearly demonstrates the need for improved education for professionals and the public.
The final chapter is the editors' call for a global perspective on fish–forestry interactions. Northcote and Hartman address gaps in their coverage and provide brief overviews of critical regions that were not covered in the book. They identify unique characteristics of major regions of the world and indicate that scientists and resource managers need to carefully apply information on fish–forestry interactions in different biomes and cultures. Their final thoughts on the uncertainties of future change in landscapes and human populations are an eloquent and compelling plea for more deliberate and coordinated actions to conserve and restore the world's forests and aquatic systems.
The editors and authors of Fishes and Forestry have provided the first global perspective on fish–forestry interactions. This book is essential reading for any scientist, resource manager, or member of the public interested in forested landscapes. Every university and resource training center should have copies available for the scientists and resource managers of the future.