Livestock Exclusion Effects on the Structure and Function of Headwater Streams
|dc.contributor.author||Cook, Kenneth Reid||en_US|
|dc.description.abstract||The structure and function of headwater streams was evaluated in response to livestock exclusion implemented through Virginia's Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). We measured riparian plant characteristics along with stream organic matter dynamics, benthic macroinvertebrates, algal biomass, and leaf breakdown in non-fenced, fenced, and forested streams. Increased growth of non-woody vegetation and the pre-existence of woody plants had a significant influence on stream organic matter dynamics. Tree basal area in a 20 m wide riparian corridor was predictive of stream coarse benthic organic matter standing stocks. Higher benthic organic matter standing stocks and differences in algal biomass in fenced and forested sites indicate different food resources may be structuring macroinvertebrate communities in these systems. We found a significant relationship between coarse benthic organic matter and percent shredder density, and scraper density generally followed patterns of algal biomass among treatments. Leaf breakdown rates among treatments were not indicative of differences in shredder density with two of the three fenced sites having the fastest overall breakdown rates observed. We attributed faster breakdown rates in these streams to available food resources and shredder community structure existing prior to the implementation of livestock exclusion.
Our results suggest that a certain amount of ecological recovery may be possible through livestock exclusion. Macroinvertebrate structure in our study streams was primarily influenced by the presence or absence of riparian trees. Maturation and successional changes in woody riparian vegetation after livestock exclusion may allow certain characteristics of pastoral streams to return to those found in forested reaches.
|dc.rights||I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to Virginia Tech or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.||en_US|
|dc.title||Livestock Exclusion Effects on the Structure and Function of Headwater Streams||en_US|
|dc.description.degree||Master of Science||en_US|
|thesis.degree.name||Master of Science||en_US|
|thesis.degree.grantor||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||en_US|
|dc.contributor.committeechair||Benfield, Ernest Fredrick||en_US|
|dc.contributor.committeemember||Jones, Robert H.||en_US|
|dc.contributor.committeemember||Webster, Jackson R.||en_US|
Files in this item
This item appears in the following Collection(s)
Masters Theses