|Title||Effects of experimental forest removal on macroinvertebrate production and functional structure in tallgrass prairie streams|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|Authors||Vanderymyde, JM, Whiles, MR|
Encroachment by woody vegetation is a major threat to tallgrass prairie streams, and converts them from open- to closed-canopy systems. This change presumably shifts the relative importance of basal resources from autochthonous to allochthonous and may alter functional feeding group composition and production of consumers. Riparian trees were removed from 2 headwater stream reaches on the Konza Prairie Biological Station to examine effects of forest encroachment and removal. Removal reaches were compared to reaches with naturally open and closed canopies before and after manipulation. Benthic organic matter and macroinvertebrates were sampled monthly for 1 y before (year 1) and after (year 2) riparian forest removal. Total secondary production in removal reaches ranged from 8.9 to 10.2 g ash-free dry mass (AFDM) m−2 y−1 in year 1, and increased significantly to 13.4 to 14.5 g AFDM m−2 y−1 in year 2. Scraper production in removal reaches was 2.8 to 3.9 g AFDM m−2 y−1 in year 1, and increased significantly to 6.0 to 8.7 g AFDM m−2 y−1 in year 2. Shredders did not respond negatively to the removal, but scrapers dominated production (45-60% of total) in open and removal reaches after manipulation. Total production in naturally open reaches was 7.6 to 12.6 g AFDM m−2 y−1 in year 1 and decreased to 6.5 to 9.8 g AFDM m−2 y−1 in year 2. Riparian forest removal altered macroinvertebrate production and functional structure, but higher production in removal reaches than in open reaches after manipulation suggested that natural conditions were not restored 1 y after removal. However, ordinations indicated communities in open and removal reaches became more similar after manipulation. Forest encroachment alters prairie stream structure and function, and riparian forest removal may be an effective restoration and management practice for remaining prairie streams.