The effects of forestry management practices on environmental factors and woodland amphibians
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Hardwood forests are abundant in the U.S., the eastern region especially, and there is interest in managing them to serve economic and ecological objectives. Management actions can have a detrimental effect on wildlife populations and ecosystem processes. Using woodland salamanders as model organisms, we investigated differences between mature, thinned, and clear cut forests in the summers of 2000, 2001, and 2005. In 2005 we added sites from a recent regeneration cut where residual leave had been intentionally left on the ground. We compared light intensity and temperature between four treatments: open, fenced, tree tops (a layer of woody debris), and wood piles and in the plots established in 2000. Mature forests had higher salamander counts than thinned forests, and thinned forests had higher salamander counts than clear cut forests. Daily light and temperature fluctuations in clear cut areas were significantly higher than in thinned plots. In the regeneration plots, daily light and temperature fluctuations decreased as level of ground cover increased. Open plots had the most variable conditions, whereas piles were the most moderate. Tree tops were found to be effective at moderating environmental conditions. The type of forest management affects environmental conditions and salamander populations. Leaving woody debris from a harvest or creating piles could be viable methods to providing suitable habitat for woodland amphibians and are highly recommended.
Figures are located at the end of the document.
salamander; forest management; amphibian; coarse woody debris
dissertation or thesis