Riparian-Stream Linkages in Upland Redwood Forests

Within the range of California coastal redwood, historic logging practices, reduced fog frequency, and increased drought stress have been shown to influence the composition and physiology of upland redwood stands. Upland redwood stands are dominated by coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and tanoak (Notholithocarpus densiflorus) which exhibit slow decomposition rates, a high C:N ratio, large amounts of secondary plant compounds, and exhibit heavy canopy structure that limits primary production within freshwater stream ecosystems. Inputs from terrestrial vegetation (allochthonous) are a major source of energy for forested headwater communities where low light levels can greatly limit instream photosynthesis (autochthonous). Composition of terrestrial inputs can be attributed to local habitat structure, precipitation, tree species, and will directly influence the secondary production of aquatic organisms, as well as the rate of allochthonous carbon processing. In the wake of increased drought stress and anthropogenic impacts, the prevailing juxtaposition within upland redwood stands could influence invertebrate prey biomass and have cascading effects to higher levels of the trophic network, particularly drift-feeding fish downstream. Physical characteristics paired with timing, composition, and quality of detrital inputs, as well as limited primary productivity are all important drivers of invertebrate biomass within coastal redwood streams.

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