Coarse woody habitat (CWH) is an important structural habitat in freshwater ecosystems. In natural lakes, CWH accumulates over centuries alongside the succession of littoral tree communities. Newly created gravel pit lakes have difficulties in accumulating CWH due to their young age. Additionally, CWH presence might be negatively affected by shoreline development, where wood is removed to facilitate recreational activities such as angling. We studied 26 gravel pit lakes with an age ≤ 55 yrs in Lower Saxony, Germany, to quantify CWH density and to understand the impact of environmental factors, including lake morphology, lake age, wind direction, abundance of riparian trees, and the presence or absence of fisheries management, on CWH density. We sampled small and large CWH in the littoral zone of the study lakes using a transect-based approach. Density of CWH was lower in German gravel pit lakes than in North American natural lakes. In gravel pit lakes, we detected increasing densities of small CWH with increasing numbers of large trees on the shore and with increasing littoral slopes in lakes managed for recreational fisheries. Large CWH density was positively affected by lake age, by the density of large trees on the shore and with wind from land, and again by steep littoral slopes in lakes managed for recreational fisheries. We recommend that recreational fisheries managers and individual anglers maintain CWH in shallow littoral zones to promote fish habitats in generally low-structured gravel pit lakes.
Environmental determinants of coarse woody habitat in gravel pit lakes
Projekt Baggersee , Rezensierter Artikel
Matern, S., Robichon, C., Nikolaus, R., Monk, C.T., Arlinghaus, R. 2023. Environmental determinants of coarse woody habitat in gravel pit lakes. Lake and Reservoir Management, 39, 3, 259-272.
Erschienen in : Lake and Reservoir Management, 39, 3, 259-272