Carbon storage, soil carbon dioxide efflux and water quality in three widths of piedmont streamside management zonesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Streamside management zones (SMZs) are used to protect water quality. Monitoring carbon pools and fluxes in SMZs may a good indicator of the SMZ’s overall function and health. In this project we evaluated some of these pools and fluxes from three different SMZ widths (30.5, 15.3, and 7.6 m) in the Piedmont of Virginia. We quantified carbon storage in the soil (upper 10 cm), litter layer, and plant community, monitored soil carbon dioxide (CO2) efflux and measured total organic carbon and benthic communities in stream water samples. The narrowest 7.6 m SMZ width did show changes in ecosystem function (litter decrease, soil moisture increase, soil CO2 efflux increase) which could result in long-term impacts. At this point in time (3 years post harvest), no significant differences were found in the benthic community. The 15.3 m thinning treatment did consistently have the highest total organic carbon (TOC) which may be related to the disturbance from harvesting.