Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 54(6):1299-1305, 1997. Paper abstract bibtex
The purpose of the present study was to determine if riparian deforestation would expose lake surfaces to stronger winds and therefore bring about deepening of thermoclines and resulting habitat losses for cold stenotherms such as lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush). Removal of protective riparian trees through wind blowdown and two wildfires was found to triple the overwater windspeeds and produce thermocline deepening in two lakes at the Experimental Lakes Area. A survey of thermal stratification patterns in 63 northwestern Ontario lakes showed that lakes around which riparian trees had been removed a decade before through either clearcutting or by a wildfire were found to have thermocline depths over 2 m deeper per unit fetch length compared with lakes surrounded by mature forests. Riparian tree removal will therefore exacerbate hypolimnion habitat losses for cold stenotherms that have already been documented to be occurring as a result of lake acidification, eutrophication, and climate warming.