Special Issue "Aquatic Biodiversity and Forests"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity and Functionality of Aquatic Ecosystems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 8853

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Anne Timm
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Interests: stream habitat; ecohydrology; urban aquatic ecology; water temperature; riparian management
Dr. Susan Adams
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research, Aquatic Conservation and Ecology Team, Oxford, Mississippi, United States
Interests: crayfish; fish; stream ecology; conservation; disturbance; systematics; invasive species
Dr. Jason Dunham
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USGS , Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Corvallis, Oregon, United States
Interests: ecological drought; climate vulnerability assessments; regional assessments of land use and conservation priorities; invasive species; hydrology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Freshwater stream and wetland species are inherently connected to forested ecosystems because of the importance of riparian zones and the role of forests in maintaining water quantity, water quality, and habitat. Maintaining stream and wetland habitat connectivity and ecosystem functions at all spatial scales are essential for aquatic biodiversity conservation. Threats to global aquatic biodiversity may include forest management practices, urbanization-related stressors, climate-change-related alterations of hydrologic and thermal regimes, and biological invasions. This Special Issue of Water aims to showcase habitat conservation for fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and other aquatic and semi-aquatic species that depend on freshwater–forest connections. Manuscript themes may span aquatic ecosystem effects of forestry practices, riparian buffer efficacy and corridor designs, land-cover- and climate-change-related stressors, genetic tools for inventory and assessment, and ecohydrology applications for habitat planning. Submissions are encouraged on stream and wetland species that are at risk due to reduced freshwater–forest habitat connectivity and predictive tools that can be applied at multiple spatial scales to help to reduce loss of aquatic habitat and ecosystem function.

Dr. Anne Timm
Dr. Susan Adams
Dr. Jason Dunham
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • aquatic ecology
  • conservation
  • climate vulnerability
  • invasive species
  • regional assessment
  • hydrology
  • habitat
  • riparian
  • freshwater species
  • semi-aquatic species

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Hydroclimatic Conditions, Wildfire, and Species Assemblages Influence Co-Occurrence of Bull Trout and Tailed Frogs in Northern Rocky Mountain Streams
Water 2022, 14(7), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14071162 - 05 Apr 2022
Viewed by 630
Abstract
Although bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) and tailed frogs (Ascaphus montanus) have co-existed in forested Pacific Northwest streams for millennia, these iconic cold-water specialists are experiencing rapid environmental change caused by a warming climate and enhanced wildfire activity. Our goal [...] Read more.
Although bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) and tailed frogs (Ascaphus montanus) have co-existed in forested Pacific Northwest streams for millennia, these iconic cold-water specialists are experiencing rapid environmental change caused by a warming climate and enhanced wildfire activity. Our goal was to inform future conservation by examining the habitat associations of each species and conditions that facilitate co-occupancy. We repurposed data from previous studies in the northern Rocky Mountains to assess the efficacy of bull trout electrofishing surveys for determining the occurrence of tailed frogs and the predictive capacity of habitat covariates derived from in-stream measurements and geospatial sources to model distributions of both species. Electrofishing reliably detected frog presence (89.2% rate). Both species were strongly associated with stream temperature and flow regime characteristics, and less responsive to riparian canopy cover, slope, and other salmonids. Tailed frogs were also sensitive to wildfire, with occupancy probability peaking around 80 years after a fire. Co-occupancy was most probable in locations with low-to-moderate frequencies of high winter flow events, few other salmonids, a low base-flow index, and intermediate years since fire. The distributions of these species appear to be sensitive to environmental conditions that are changing this century in forests of the northern Rocky Mountains. The amplification of climate-driven effects after wildfire may prove to be particularly problematic in the future. Habitat differences between these two species, considered to be headwater specialists, suggest that conservation measures designed for one may not fully protect the other. Additional studies involving future climate and wildfire scenarios are needed to assess broader conservation strategies and the potential to identify refuge streams where both species are likely to persist, or complementary streams where each could exist separately into the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Biodiversity and Forests)
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Article
Aquatic Biological Diversity Responses to Flood Disturbance and Forest Management in Small, Forested Watersheds
Water 2021, 13(19), 2793; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192793 - 08 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 747
Abstract
We examined riparian system responses to an extreme rainfall event on 1–4 December 2007, in eleven small watersheds (mean area—13.2 km2) from 2008–2016 at debris flow, high flood, and low flood reaches (all extended overbank flows). Macroinvertebrate responses followed expected outcomes [...] Read more.
We examined riparian system responses to an extreme rainfall event on 1–4 December 2007, in eleven small watersheds (mean area—13.2 km2) from 2008–2016 at debris flow, high flood, and low flood reaches (all extended overbank flows). Macroinvertebrate responses followed expected outcomes after extreme disturbance including increasing chironomids and other multi-voltine species. A core assemblage of twenty abundant and common species-maintained populations even after debris flow (likely by recolonizing quickly) with total richness during project of 253 including 183 rare species (<0.01 total abundance) supporting an annual turnover of species from 22 to 33%. Primary disturbance changes to habitat were declines in shade and in-channel wood at all reaches, more strongly at debris flow reaches. Macroinvertebrate communities across disturbance intensities became increasingly similar after the storm. Combined effects of the flood reducing channel complexity and previous logging decreasing in-channel wood recruitment from riparian systems, limits habitat complexity. Until this feature of forested watershed streams returns, there appears to be a ceiling on reach scale aquatic biological diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Biodiversity and Forests)
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Article
Riparian Land Cover, Water Temperature Variability, and Thermal Stress for Aquatic Species in Urban Streams
Water 2021, 13(19), 2732; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192732 - 02 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 895
Abstract
Thermal regime warming and increased variability can result in human developed watersheds due to runoff over impervious surfaces and influence of stormwater pipes. This study quantified relationships between tree canopy, impervious surface, and water temperature in stream sites with 4 to 62% impervious [...] Read more.
Thermal regime warming and increased variability can result in human developed watersheds due to runoff over impervious surfaces and influence of stormwater pipes. This study quantified relationships between tree canopy, impervious surface, and water temperature in stream sites with 4 to 62% impervious land cover in their “loggersheds” to predict water temperature metrics relevant to aquatic species thermal stress thresholds. This study identified significant (≥0.7, p < 0.05) negative correlations between water temperature and percent tree canopy in the 5 m riparian area and positive correlations between water temperature and total length of stormwater pipe in the loggershed. Mixed-effects models predicted that tree canopy cover in the 5 m riparian area would reduce water temperatures 0.01 to 6 °C and total length of stormwater pipes in the loggershed would increase water temperatures 0.01 to 2.6 °C. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the relationship between stormwater pipes and water temperature metrics has been explored to better understand thermal dynamics in urban watersheds. The results highlight important aspects of thermal habitat quality and water temperature variability for aquatic species living in urban streams based on thermal thresholds relevant to species metabolism, growth, and life history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Biodiversity and Forests)
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Article
Forest-Associated Fishes of the Conterminous United States
Water 2021, 13(18), 2528; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182528 - 15 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1515
Abstract
Freshwaters are important, interconnected, and imperiled. Aquatic ecosystems, including freshwater fishes, are closely tied to the terrestrial ecosystems they are embedded within, yet available spatially explicit datasets have been underutilized to determine associations between freshwater fishes and forested areas. Here, we determined the [...] Read more.
Freshwaters are important, interconnected, and imperiled. Aquatic ecosystems, including freshwater fishes, are closely tied to the terrestrial ecosystems they are embedded within, yet available spatially explicit datasets have been underutilized to determine associations between freshwater fishes and forested areas. Here, we determined the spatial co-occurrence between freshwater fish distributions and forests within 2129 watersheds of the conterminous United States. We identified 21% of freshwater fishes as associated with forested areas, and 2% as strictly present only in highly forested areas (75–100% forested). The northern coasts and southeast regions, both heavily forested, showed the largest numbers of forest-associated fishes in highly forested areas and fish species richness. Fish associated with low-forested areas occurred in the southwest and central plains. Imperiled fishes were relatively evenly distributed among percent forest categories, which was distinctly different from patterns for all fishes. The identification of forest-associated fishes provides insights regarding species-specific landscape contexts. Determining these large-scale patterns of freshwater biodiversity is necessary for conservation planning at regional levels, especially in highly impacted freshwater ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Biodiversity and Forests)
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Article
Burrow Densities of Primary Burrowing Crayfishes in Relation to Prescribed Fire and Mechanical Vegetation Treatments
Water 2021, 13(13), 1854; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131854 - 02 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1758
Abstract
Fire suppression and other factors have drastically reduced wet prairie and pine savanna ecosystems on the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. Restoration of these open-canopy environments often targets one or several charismatic species, and semi-aquatic species such as burrowing crayfishes are [...] Read more.
Fire suppression and other factors have drastically reduced wet prairie and pine savanna ecosystems on the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. Restoration of these open-canopy environments often targets one or several charismatic species, and semi-aquatic species such as burrowing crayfishes are often overlooked in these essentially terrestrial environments. We examined the relationship between primary burrowing crayfishes and three vegetation treatments implemented over at least the past two decades in the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. Vegetation in the 12 study sites had been frequently burned, frequently mechanically treated, or infrequently managed. Creaserinus spp., primarily C. oryktes, dominated the crayfish assemblage in every site. We counted crayfish burrow openings and coarsely categorized vegetation characteristics in 90, 0.56-m2 quadrats evenly distributed among six transects per site. The number of active burrow openings was negatively, exponentially related to both the percent cover of woody vegetation and the maximum height of woody vegetation in quadrats, and to the number of trees taller than 1.2 m per transect, indicating that woody plant encroachment was detrimental to the crayfishes. Results were consistent with several other studies from the eastern US, indicating that some primary burrowing crayfishes are habitat specialists adapted to open-canopy ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Biodiversity and Forests)
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Article
Stream Temperature Response to 50% Strip-Thinning in a Temperate Forested Headwater Catchment
Water 2021, 13(8), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081022 - 08 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1106
Abstract
Stream temperature is a critical parameter for understanding hydrological and biological processes in stream ecosystems. Although a large body of research has addressed the effects of forest harvesting on stream temperature, less is known about the responses of stream temperature to the practice [...] Read more.
Stream temperature is a critical parameter for understanding hydrological and biological processes in stream ecosystems. Although a large body of research has addressed the effects of forest harvesting on stream temperature, less is known about the responses of stream temperature to the practice of strip-thinning, which produces more coherent patches of shade and sunlight areas. In this study, we examined stream temperature response to 50% strip-thinning in a 17 ha headwater catchment. The thinning lines extended through the riparian zone. Paired-catchment analysis was applied to estimate changes in daily maximum, mean, and minimum stream temperatures for the first year following treatment. Significant effects on daily maximum stream temperature were found for April to August, ranging from 0.6 °C to 3.9 °C, similar to the magnitude of effect found in previous studies involving 50% random thinning. We conducted further analysis to identify the thermal response variability in relation to hydrometeorological drivers. Multiple regression analysis revealed that treatment effects for maximum daily stream temperature were positively related to solar radiation and negatively related to discharge. Frequent precipitation during the summer monsoon season produced moderate increases in discharge (from 1 to 5 mm day−1), mitigating stream temperature increases associated with solar radiation. Catchment hydrologic response to rain events can play an important role in controlling stream thermal response to forest management practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Biodiversity and Forests)
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Review

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Review
Forestry Best Management Practices and Conservation of Aquatic Systems in the Southeastern United States
Water 2021, 13(19), 2611; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192611 - 22 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1097
Abstract
State-approved forestry best management practices (BMPs) are a practice or combination of practices that, when properly implemented, effectively prevent or reduce the amount of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution entering waterbodies, such as sediment. Although BMPs are voluntary in most states in the southeastern [...] Read more.
State-approved forestry best management practices (BMPs) are a practice or combination of practices that, when properly implemented, effectively prevent or reduce the amount of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution entering waterbodies, such as sediment. Although BMPs are voluntary in most states in the southeastern United States (U.S.), forest landowners operating under the auspices of a forest certification system are required to use BMPs, and forest-certified wood procurement organizations also require loggers who supply them with fiber to use BMPs. Current implementation rates are, on average, 93.6% throughout the southeastern U.S. We conducted a literature review to better understand potential effectiveness of BMPs to conserve aquatic resources and species in the southeastern U.S. Our review focuses on how BMPs reduce NPS pollutants, particularly sediment, fertilizers, and herbicides; how BMPs are monitored throughout the southeastern U.S.; and current implementation rates. Additionally, we discuss how state BMP monitoring programs, coupled with participation in forest certification programs that require routine third-party audits, provide assurance to federal and state agencies that BMPs protect aquatic resources and species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recognized that working forests where management activities implement BMPs represent a clear, actionable, and scientifically sound approach for conserving at-risk aquatic species. However, there is a data gap in directly linking BMPs to the conservation of aquatic resources. Given the high diversity of aquatic species in the southeastern U.S., it is important to better understand this potential linkage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Biodiversity and Forests)
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