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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Too much, too soon? Two Swedish case studies of short-term deadwood recruitment in riparian buffers

Kuglerova, Lenka; Nilsson, Gustaf; Hasselquist, Eliza Maher


Forested riparian buffers are retained along streams during forest harvest to maintain a number of ecological functions. In this paper, we examine how recently established riparian buffers along northern Swedish streams provide deadwood, a key objective for riparian buffer management in Sweden. We used observational and experimental data to show that the investigated buffers provided large volumes of deadwood to streams and riparian zones shortly after their establishment, likely jeopardizing continued recruitment over the long term. Deadwood volume decreased with increasing buffer width, and the narrowest buffers tended to blow down completely. Wider buffers (similar to 15 m) provided similar volumes of deadwood as narrow buffers due to blowdowns but were, overall, more resistant to wind-felling. It is clear from our study, that wider buffers are currently a safer strategy for riparian management that aims to sustain provision of deadwood and other ecological objectives continuously on the long term.


Ecological functions; Headwaters; Large wood; Riparian buffer; Sustainable forest management; Trollberget experiment

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2023, Volume: 52, number: 2, pages: 440-452
Publisher: SPRINGER