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Riparian vegetation is an often ignored yet critical source of nutrition for riparian food webs. Many food webs are supported at their base by the breakdown and incorporation of leaf litter into fungi, insects, etc. In headwater streams, riparian leaf litter inputs provide essential subsidies that fuel in-stream productivity, in addition to subsidizing food chains of terrestrial riparian habitats. Research in this area addresses how plant community composition and other factors influence the delivery of detritus from riparian forests to headwater stream ecosystems.

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