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Doctoral thesis, 2022

Forested buffers in agricultural landscapes : mitigation effects on stream–riparian meta-ecosystems

Sargac, Jasmina


Stream–riparian meta-ecosystems are strongly connected through exchanges of
energy, material and organisms. Land use can disrupt ecological connectivity by
affecting community composition directly and/or indirectly by altering the instream
and riparian habitats that support biological structure and function. Although
forested riparian buffers are increasingly used as a management intervention, our
understanding of their effects on the functioning of stream–riparian metaecosystems
is limited. This study assessed patterns in the longitudinal and lateral
profiles of streams in modified landscapes across Europe and Sweden using a pairedreach
approach, with upstream unbuffered reaches lacking woody riparian
vegetation and with downstream reaches having well-developed forested buffers.
The presence of buffers was positively associated with stream ecological status as
well as important attributes, which included instream shading and the provision of
suitable habitats for instream and riparian communities, thus supporting more
aquatic insects (especially EPT taxa). Emergence of aquatic insects is particularly
important because they mediate reciprocal flows of subsidies into terrestrial systems.
Results of fatty acid analysis and prey DNA from spiders further supported the
importance of buffers in providing more aquatic-derived quality food (i.e. essential
fatty acids) for riparian spiders. Findings presented in this thesis show that buffers
contribute to the strengthening of cross-ecosystem connectivity and have the
potential to affect a wide range of consumers in modified landscapes.


riparian buffers; meta-ecosystems; trophic linkages; polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA); molecular gut analysis

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2022, number: 2022:36
ISBN: 978-91-7760-947-6, eISBN: 978-91-7760-948-3
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification


URI (permanent link to this page)