Scales and arrangements of large wood in streams of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Jensen, Carrie Killeen
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The project purpose is to examine large wood variability in streams of the Blue Ridge Mountains as a function of landscape characteristics at different spatial and temporal scales. Riparian forested area was analyzed latitudinally by buffer width and longitudinally upstream with additional land cover and geomorphic variables to identify factors and scales that most influence wood distributions. The 10 m riparian buffer of the reach is most important for predicting wood loads, although forest cover and development upstream also correlate with large wood. The relationship between riparian vegetation and wood weakens in bigger streams, as fluvial transport becomes more common and people are less likely to clear channels. An appropriate buffer width is not evident, but even one-tree buffers maintain some wood by discouraging wood removal. Resurveys demonstrate that large wood is most dynamic in forested reaches and primarily changes function in floods to store sediment and organic matter.