The Ecology and Management of Wood in World Rivers

Restoring Streams with Large Wood: A Synthesis

Michael Reich, Jeffrey L. Kershner, and Randall C. Wildman


Abstract.—The use of large wood in stream restoration projects has become increasingly popular in the last 20 years. We reviewed more than 30 case studies from different ecoregions and countries (Canada, Germany, Japan, United States) to evaluate the variety of approaches used and assessed their reported success. Wood inputs generally fell into two categories: fixed structural designs or placements where wood was not fixed to one location. Large wood was used in fixed designs in most studies from North America and usually built in or anchored by cables. Few projects attempted to simulate the dynamic processes of wood inputs to the floodplain. Mobile wood placements were mostly used in projects after 1990. They represented 6% of the projects in North America and 55% in Germany, where restoration projects designed with mobile wood can be found even in densely populated (200 people/km²) rural areas, but only along second- and third-order streams. Few studies attempted to simulate historical amounts and distribution of wood in forested catchments. In most of the studies from rural areas, practical aspects like stream access or the availability of logs dominated the experimental design and placements.