The influence of catchment land use on stream integrity across multiple spatial scales

  title={The influence of catchment land use on stream integrity across multiple spatial scales},
  author={J. Allan and D. Erickson and J. Fay},
  journal={Freshwater Biology},
3. The River Raisin basin historically was a region of oak-savannah and wetlands. It was deforested, drained and converted to farmland during the mid-nineteenth century. Human population reached a plateau at about 1880, and then underwent a second period of growth after 1950, mainly in small urban areas. More recently, the amount of agricultural land has declined and forested land has increased, in accord with a general decline in farming activity. 4. It could be suggested that the influence of land use on stream integrity is scaledependent. Instream habitat structure and organic matter inputs are determined primarily by local conditions such as vegetative cover at a site, whereas nutrient supply, sediment delivery, hydrology and channel characteristics are influenced by regional conditions, including landscape features and land use/cover at some distance upstream and lateral to stream sites. 5. Sediment concentrations measured during low flows were higher in areas of greater agriculture. [...] Key Result In a comparison of two subcatchments, sediment yields were up to ten times greater in the more agricultural location, in response to similar storm events. A distributed parameter model linked to a geographical information system predicted that an increase in forested land cover would result in dramatic declines in runoff and sediment and nutrient yields. 6. Habitat quality and biotic integrity varied widely among individual stream sites in accord with patterns in land use/cover.Expand
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