Headwater Stream Response to Grassland Agricultural Development in New Zealand
Agricultural development of native grasslands may change stream physico-chemistry in ways that provide both subsidies and stresses to the system. The aims of this study were to determine: (1) which physico-chemical parameters respond most strongly to agricultural development; (2) how biodiversity, community composition, and food-web structure responded to these changes; and (3) to determine the balance between negative and positive impacts of these subsidies and stresses based on the analysis of 18 headwater streams. Developed pasture streams had increased nutrient loading, alterations to streamside vegetation, increased fine sediment composition, and lower moss coverage of streambeds than undeveloped or lightly grazed native grassland catchments (which could not be distinguished from one another). These differences were associated with higher numbers of macroinvertebrate taxa and higher numbers of macroinvertebrates indicating that the net effects of these subsidies and stresses associated with agricultural development were positive within these headwater stream reaches.
R. H. Riley et al., "Headwater Stream Response to Grassland Agricultural Development in New Zealand," New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, Royal Society of New Zealand, Jun 2003.
Foundation for Research, Science and Technology of New Zealand
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