Source Stream Protection (SOSTPRO)

The Source Stream Protection (SOSTPRO) project was designed to investigate the impacts of different forest management strategies on metrics of aquatic ecosystem resilience and to identify trade-offs between those strategies, aquatic ecosystem services, and industrial and social opportunities. Small, source (headwater) streams are closely linked to the forest landscape surrounding them, and are vulnerable to forest harvesting activities 1-3. Rules and practices have been imposed on the forest industry for riparian protection for these areas, but implementation varies among locations4. In most of the world small streams typically receive the least protection from forestry within the stream network, from narrow forested riparian buffers to none. This is of special concern because small streams are numerous across the landscape and impacts may be carried downstream along river networks, causing cumulative negative effects. Protecting small streams may incur a potentially large cost and impediment to the forest industry, but it is difficult to estimate the costs to water quality and quantity, and habitat that comes with the status quo.

Project Overview

Registration is open for the Source Stream Protection Symposium on May 14, 2019 in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. 

This one-day symposium will present studies on the functioning of headwater streams across landscapes, and the effects of land use on those ecosystems. We will bring together researchers and managers interested in the latest work on headwater ecosystems and their management. There will be ample time to develop conversations and the day will end with an hour-long, moderated discussion.

We welcome contributed talks and posters addressing headwater streams ecosystems and their management from a variety of perspectives, including but not limited to hydrology, ecology, biodiversity, and/or biogeochemistry. Abstracts for talks and posters are due March 29, 2019. Abstracts should be no more than 200 words. Abstracts will be reviewed and presenters notified by mid April and a final program will be distributed to attendees in early May. To register and submit your abstract, please follow the link here.

Abstract guidelines: Abstracts should be representative of the proposed presentation and include a brief description of the research objective or management issue, methods or approaches used, key findings, and broader implications for scientists and/or managers. All abstracts should be written in English.



1. Naiman RJ & Décamps H. 1997. The ecology of interfaces: Riparian zones. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 28:621-658.

2. Gomi T, Sidle RC & Richardson JS. 2002.  Headwater and channel network -understanding processes and downstream linkages of headwater systems. BioScience 52:905-916.

3. Richardson JS & Danehy RJ. 2007. A synthesis of the ecology of headwater streams and their riparian zones in temperate forests. Forest Science 53:131-147.

4. Richardson JS, Naiman RJ & Bisson PA. 2012. How did fixed-width buffers become standard practice for protecting freshwaters and their riparian areas from forest harvest practices?  Freshwater Science 31:232-238.