Riparian vegetation patterns and links with surface waters in the boreal forest
Luke, Stacey Hilda
Master of Science
DisciplineForestry and the Forest Environment
SubjectRiparian plants (Canada)
MetadataShow full item record
Riparian areas in the Canadian boreal forest represent the transition zone between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Factors that influence riparian vegetation communities and the associated interactions with boreal streams were reviewed. Regional and local drivers (e.g., climate and site hydrology) that affect upland boreal vegetation also operate in riparian areas. However, the proximity of riparian areas to the stream channel not only modifies some of these drivers, but it means that the stream itself becomes a driver of riparian vegetation dynamics. For example, hydrological disturbances like flooding and ice scour affect soil texture and alter successional pathways, sometimes completely denuding streambanks of vegetation. Even in riparian areas unaffected by such catastrophic disturbances, saturated soil conditions can influence riparian forest composition and nutrient cycling.