Assessment of minimum stream corridor width for biological conservation: Species richness and distribution along mid-order streams in Vermont, USA

Assessment of minimum stream corridor width for biological conservation: Species richness and... Bird, mammal and vascular plant species were censused in 200-m long plots at varying distances from six midorder streams in Vermont, USA to determine how wide corridors need to be to conserve biological richness. Use of stream corridors by most mammal species occurred below or just above the annual high water mark (HWM). Distribution of plant and bird species within corridors was more variable, however, and differed from stream to stream. For example, to include 90% of the streamside plant species, minimum corridor widths ranged from 10 to 30 m above HWM, depending on the stream. Minimum corridor widths of 75–175 m were needed to include 90% of the bird species. Thus, no standard minimum corridor width for conserving species was identified. Virtually all annual, biennial, non-native and ruderal (weedy) plant species were restricted to the streamside of HWM, suggesting that annually flooded zones may serve as refugia and travel corridors for these groups. No analagous relationships were identified for birds or mammals. In summary, distribution of species along streams varied greatly by taxon, stream, and location of the high water mark. Use of a standard corridor width to conserve species is a very poor substitute for individual, streamspecific assessments of species distributions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biological Conservation Elsevier

Assessment of minimum stream corridor width for biological conservation: Species richness and distribution along mid-order streams in Vermont, USA

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Abstract

Bird, mammal and vascular plant species were censused in 200-m long plots at varying distances from six midorder streams in Vermont, USA to determine how wide corridors need to be to conserve biological richness. Use of stream corridors by most mammal species occurred below or just above the annual high water mark (HWM). Distribution of plant and bird species within corridors was more variable, however, and differed from stream to stream. For example, to include 90% of the streamside plant species, minimum corridor widths ranged from 10 to 30 m above HWM, depending on the stream. Minimum corridor widths of 75–175 m were needed to include 90% of the bird species. Thus, no standard minimum corridor width for conserving species was identified. Virtually all annual, biennial, non-native and ruderal (weedy) plant species were restricted to the streamside of HWM, suggesting that annually flooded zones may serve as refugia and travel corridors for these groups. No analagous relationships were identified for birds or mammals. In summary, distribution of species along streams varied greatly by taxon, stream, and location of the high water mark. Use of a standard corridor width to conserve species is a very poor substitute for individual, streamspecific assessments of species distributions.

Journal

Biological ConservationElsevier

Published: Jan 1, 1995

References

  • Stream hydrology
    Gordon, N.D.; McMahon, T.A.; Finlayson, B.L.
  • Seasonal and year-to-year differences in food selection by beavers
    Jenkins, S.H.
  • Corridors in real landscapes: a reply to Simberloff and Cox
    Noss, R.F.
  • Biological consequences of ecosystem fragmentation: a review
    Saunders, D.A.; Hobbs, R.J.; Margules, C.R.
  • Consequences and costs of conservation corridors
    Simberloff, D.; Cox, J.

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