Forest Harvesting Impacts on Forested Wetland Ecosystem Functions in North America Jiang, Shuyan
Wetlands provide various ecosystem services and values such as hydrology regulation, wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration. Harvesting activities can alter wetland functions and cause tremendous changes to the ecosystem but the magnitude and direction of the effects depend upon the intensity of the harvest and associated activities (Wigley et al., 1994). Harvesting methods which are well-developed in the size, timing and spacing can minimize impacts or even bring positive effects to wetland habitats. Clear-cut, for instance, may eliminate the ability of a wetland to reduce flood peaks. Forest retention, on the other hand, can help retain water capacity of soil and thus reducing peak flood flows. To maintain wetland functions and thus protect their ecosystem values, wetlands must be properly identified and well managed. This article provides an understanding of some of the ecosystem functions and societal values of and some possible timber harvesting impacts on temperate forested wetlands. Potential operation suggestions during harvesting are given in the discussion part such as use shelter wood instead of clear cutting. BMPs that are effective to protect forested wetland ecosystem functions need to be considered by forest management operators.
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