A stochastic model of wood recruitment and jam formation to evaluate forest disturbance effects

In this recent paper, Sarah Davidson links disturbances to the riparian forest to changes in fish habitat associated with instream large wood. The paper presents an analysis of the effects of forest fire regime, and considers various riparian logging scenarios. The focus of the analysis is to situate the mean response of the stream channel within the context of the range of channel conditions. The model uses a Monte Carlo modelling approach, applied to a conceptually simple model of channel and jam dynamics.

This kind of modelling approach is particularly useful when evaluating the particular response trajectories of a stream following disturbance, since it emphasizes the range of conditions, not simply the mean condition. The ideas presented in this paper (and a yet-to-be-published chapter from Sarah’s thesis on the Stochastic Channel Simulator, STOCASIM) have strongly influenced my thinking about the value of equilibrium concepts in fluvial geomorphology.

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