Forestry best management practices relationships with aquatic and riparian fauna: A review

Abstract

Forestry best management practices (BMPs) were developed to minimize water pollution from forestry operations by primarily addressing sediment and sediment transport, which is the leading source of pollution from silviculture. Implementation of water quality BMPs may also benefit riparian and aquatic wildlife, although wildlife benefits were not driving forces for BMP development. Therefore, we reviewed literature regarding potential contributions of sediment-reducing BMPs to conservation of riparian and aquatic wildlife, while realizing that BMPs also minimize thermal, nutrient, and chemical pollution. We reached five important conclusions: (1) a significant body of research confirms that forestry BMPs contribute to the protection of water quality and riparian forest structure; (2) data-specific relationships between forestry BMPs and reviewed species are limited; (3) forestry BMPs for forest road construction and maintenance, skid trails, stream crossings, and streamside management zones (SMZs) are important particularly for protection of water quality and aquatic species; (4) stream crossings should be carefully selected and installed to minimize sediment inputs and stream channel alterations; and (5) SMZs promote retention of older-age riparian habitat with benefits extending from water bodies to surrounding uplands. Overall, BMPs developed for protection of water quality should benefit a variety of riparian and aquatic species that are sensitive to changes in water quality or forest structure.

  • Citation: Warrington, Brooke M.; Aust, W. Michael; Barrett, Scott M.; Ford, W. Mark; Dolloff, C. Andrew; Schilling, Erik B.; Wigley, T. Bently; Bolding, M. Chad 2017. Forestry best management practices relationships with aquatic and riparian fauna: A review. Forests. 8(9): 331-346. 16 p. https://doi.org/10.3390/f8090331.

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