When I hear about clear cuts, I am sometimes guilty, as a wildlife person, of thinking about the direct impacts to animals and plants first before other aspects of the ecosystem. However, Dr. Rex’s presentation on Friday made me aware of their consequences on the health of small streams which ultimately impacts the health of the whole ecosystem including humans. I hear a lot about how cutting trees around streams increases the erosion of banks but not so much about the increasing temperatures of the water. I never made the link that cutting down the trees would remove the shade, leading to increased water temperatures, even up to 5 °C in some streams. As a result, the streams become unsuitable for organisms that once lived there like the bull trout. Like Dr. Rex explained, it all starts with the small streams. Smalls streams flow into larger rivers and lakes and make up most of our watersheds. If many are contaminated or stop flowing, not only will the biodiversity surrounding those streams will suffer, but the deterioration of small streams will also reflect in those larger bodies of water we depend on. In the end, this presentation made me think of the importance of small streams and that preserving them may not be as simple as leaving 10 m buffers. Overall, I really enjoyed the presentation, Dr. Rex knew his subject incredibly well and explained it clearly.
For methods, I was impressed with the number of temperature and air probes they had to install in a relatively short amount of time for many of the studies and it did remind me a little bit of my project. I will document the shift in the song of white-throated sparrows and a good part of it will be going outside and recording birds. Sometimes the project will call for me being at two sites at once, since we want to get as many recordings as possible and because birds only sing for about a three week period in spring. In order to do that, I will be installing some ARUs (Autonomous Recording Units) in several sites (although not as many as the probes in Dr. Rex’s study) to get the recordings we need.
The question period was interesting as people had questions on so many different aspects of the presentation and Dr. Rex answered all of them in much detail. I also liked that the students that worked on some of the studies presented were able to pitch in as well. I would be curious to know what are the management policies at the moment. I am not sure I understood that part of the presentation well and I am wondering if the ten meter buffer policy is already in place or if they are working on implementing it. I was also wondering if management stops at buffers or are the government and other agencies considering taking other actions like monitoring or remediation for example.