Environmental Management

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 112–119 | Cite as

Monitoring Liverworts to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Hydroriparian Buffers

  • Kellina L. HigginsEmail author
  • Maï Yasué


In the coastal temperate rainforest of British Columbia (BC) in western Canada, government policies stipulate that foresters leave unlogged hydroriparian buffer strips up to 25 m on each side of streams to protect wildlife habitat. At present, studies on the effectiveness of these buffers focus on mammals, birds, and amphibians while there is comparably little information on smaller organisms such as liverworts in these hydroriparian buffers. To address this gap of knowledge, we conducted field surveys of liverworts comparing the percent cover and community composition in hydroriparian forested areas (n = 4 sites, n = 32 plots with nested design) to hydroriparian buffer zones (n = 4 sites, n = 32 plots). We also examined how substrate type affected the cover of liverworts. Liverwort communities in buffers were similar to those in riparian forest areas and most liverworts were found on downed wood. Thus, hydroriparian buffers of 25–35 m on each side in a coastal temperate rainforest effectively provide habitat for liverworts as long as downed wood is left intact in the landscape. Because liverworts are particularly sensitive to changes in humidity, these results may indicate that hydroriparian buffers are an effective management strategy for bryophytes and possibly for a range of other riparian species that are particularly sensitive to forestry-related changes in microclimate.


Coastal temperate rainforest Forestry Forest management Bryophyte Substrate 



We are grateful to the students at Quest University Canada who volunteered their time as field assistants and those who read previous versions of this manuscript. Thanks to all faculty who advised this project: Marjorie Wonham, Robert Knop, Richard Wildman, Neal Melvin, James Cohn, and Court Ashbaugh. We are also appreciative of the comments from two anonymous reviewers. Thanks also to Olivia Lee at the University of British Columbia Herbarium for confirming species identification and for accepting herbarium specimens.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quest University CanadaSquamishCanada
  2. 2.Département de géographieUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada

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