, Volume 102, Issue 2, pp 99-111

A comparison of streams in logged and unlogged areas of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Abstract

Second order streams draining areas of virgin forest in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina, U.S.A., are compared to those which drain forests logged before the establishment of the park in the 1930's. Water quality of two main study streams (one unlogged and one formerly logged) was compared and the unlogged stream had generally higher levels of dissolved solids and lower levels of suspended particulates than the logged stream. Stream channel characteristics were compared on four logged and four unlogged streams. The unlogged streams had over four times more (by volume) of woody debris and 10 times more material in debris dams than the logged streams. Only minor differences in substrate composition were observed.

Macroinvertebrate samples from the four logged and four unlogged streams showed that the logged streams contained greater numbers of organisms and more taxa. More detailed sampling on the two main study streams showed similar patterns of more individuals and more taxa in the logged stream, as well as differences in the composition of five functional groups. These differences in invertebrate fauna may be due to differences in quantity and quality of leaf litter inputs, although other explanations are also possible.