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24 January 2012 Forest management practices based on emulation of natural disturbances (END): implications for aquatic ecosystems
David P. Kreutzweiser
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Emulation of natural disturbance (END) strategy is a rising paradigm for forest management (Perera et al. 2004, Long 2009), but the implications for aquatic ecosystems have not been assessed or synthesized. END in forestry has implications for aquatic ecosystems because of strong land–water linkages among watersheds, riparian forests, and receiving waters, and because some intentional near-water logging will be encouraged to emulate natural riparian forest disturbances. This BRIDGES cluster is intended to promote an exchange of ideas on how, why (or why not), when, and where to apply END in riparian forests. The authors of articles in this cluster have embraced the concept of applying END to riparian forest management, but recognize that many uncertainties remain regarding actual applications and their outcomes. Kreutzweiser et al. (2012) introduce the concepts of END and provide a theoretical basis for use of intentional watershed and riparian disturbance by forest managers to emulate natural disturbances and renewal processes that sustain aquatic habitat complexity and ecosystem integrity. Richardson et al. (2012) offer an historical perspective on shoreline forest management in North America. They provide the context for rethinking the use of standard riparian buffers in forestry and highlight the need for field-derived models and guidance for site-specific riparian management. Natural forest disturbances as drivers of aquatic ecosystem sustainability are examined by Moore and Richardson (2012), who compare fire as a natural disturbance agent and riparian forest harvesting. They show that reasons for some riparian logging may be compelling in some areas, but that the catchment and landscape contexts will have to be considered when deciding whether to log riparian zones. This need for multiple considerations is further described by Naylor et al. (2012) as they illustrate the use of emergent science, applied ecology, and a decision support system to develop new directions for riparian forest management in the context of END. They end by offering guidelines for careful riparian logging. Sibley et al. (2012) bring these perspectives together into a synthesis and provide some guiding principles and ways to move toward integrating END with watershed and riparian forest management. They discuss some shortcomings and uncertainties and suggest that the application of END to watersheds should include development of ecologically relevant guidelines and policies set in the context of disturbance-ecology principles and adjusted by insights gained via empirical applications and adaptive management.

Literature Cited


D. P Kreutzweiser P. K Sibley J. S Richardsonand A. M Gordon 2012. Introduction and a theoretical basis for using disturbance by forest management activities to sustain aquatic ecosystems. Freshwater Science 31:224–231. Google Scholar


J. N Long 2009. Emulating natural disturbance regimes as a basis for forest management: a North American view. Forest Ecology and Management 257:1868–1873. Google Scholar


R. D Mooreand J. S Richardson 2012. Natural disturbance and forest management in riparian zones: comparison of effects at reach, catchment, and landscape scales. Freshwater Science 31:239–247. Google Scholar


B. J Naylor R. W Mackereth D. P Kreutzweiserand P. K Sibley 2012. Merging END concepts with protection of fish habitat and water quality in new direction for riparian forests in Ontario: a case study of science guiding policy and practice. Freshwater Science 31:248–257. Google Scholar


A. H Perera L. J Buseand M. G Weber (editors). 2004. Emulating natural forest landscape disturbances. Columbia University Press, New York. Google Scholar


J. S Richardson R. J Naimanand P. A Bisson 2012. How did fixed-width buffers become standard practice for protecting freshwaters and their riparian areas from forest harvest practices? Freshwater Science 31:232–238. Google Scholar


P. K Sibley D. P Kreutzweiser B. J Naylor J. S Richardsonand A. M Gordon 2012. Emulation of natural disturbance (END) for riparian forest management: synthesis and recommendations. Freshwater Science 31:258–264. Google Scholar


[1] BRIDGES is a recurring feature of FWS intended to provide a forum for the interchange of ideas and information relevant to FWS readers, but beyond the usual scope of a scientific paper. Articles in this series will bridge from aquatic ecology to other disciplines, e.g., political science, economics, education, chemistry, or other biological sciences. Papers may be complementary or take alternative viewpoints. Authors with ideas for topics should contact Associate Editors Ashley Moerke and Allison Roy.

Ashley Moerke,

Allison Roy,


The Society for Freshwater Science
David P. Kreutzweiser "Forest management practices based on emulation of natural disturbances (END): implications for aquatic ecosystems," Freshwater Science 31(1), 222-223, (24 January 2012).
Published: 24 January 2012

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