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Ecología austral

versión On-line ISSN 1667-782X


MASI, Carolina Isabel  y  MISERENDINO, María Laura. Benthic particulate organic matter across land use types in Patagonian mountain rivers (Chubut, Argentina). Ecol. austral [online]. 2009, vol.19, n.3, pp.185-196. ISSN 1667-782X.

Worldwide, there is a strong concern about how land use changes are affecting the ecological integrity of aquatic resources. In this paper, we examined the distribution of different items of benthic particulate organic matter and chlorophyll 'a' in 18 Patagonian mountain rivers subjected to different land use types: pastures, exotic pine plantations, urban, reference urban, managed native forest, and undisturbed native forest. Different items of detritus were obtained from samples in pools and riffles, whereas chlorophyll was quantified in runs. Coarse particulate organic matter was significantly higher in forested sites than in pasture sites. Particulate organic matter was rich in wood biomass and fragmented material in native forests, whereas managed native forest were rich in leaf biomass. Chlorophyll did not exhibit any consistent pattern among land use types. Bryophyte biomass was significantly higher in native forests, while macrophyte biomass was significantly higher in the urban land use. At the habitat scale, riffles supported higher leaf biomass and bryophytes than pools. Land use practices in Patagonia resulted in differences in the allochthonous detritus supply and the autotrophic production (bryophytes and macrophytes). The re-establishment of woody species and retention of patches of native forest in riparian corridors can ameliorate the lack of coarse particulate organic matter in rivers under pastoral development. The proper disposal of post harvest material from forest clearing and the restriction of livestock accesses to the channel will improve the ecological conditions of the banks as well as the in-stream habitat.

Palabras clave : Leaf-packs; Detritus; Algae; Clorophyll 'a'; Riparian vegetation; Patagonian rivers.

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