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Title: Long-term impacts of even-aged timber management on abundance and body condition of terrestrial amphibians in Northwestern California

Author: Karraker, N.E.; Welsh Jr, H.H.;

Date: 2006

Source: Biological Conservation, Vol. 131: 132-140

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Conservation needs for amphibians in managed timberlands may differ based upon the species present and the timber harvesting methods employed. Clearcuts have been documented to be detrimental to amphibians but the impacts of associated silvicultural edges and alternative harvesting treatments are not well understood. The primary objective of this study was to determine if amphibian abundances and body condition differed in thinned forests and intact forests, and in clearcuts and associated silvicultural edges. We also examined which environmental attributes were important in explaining observed differences. We sampled clearcuts, silvicultural edges, and adjacent late-seral forests at 10 sites in northwestern California from October 1999 to July 2002. Clearcuts at these sites ranged in age from 6 to 25 years. Five of these forest stands were intact and five had been commercially thinned at least 10 years prior to our study. Amphibian abundances were similar in thinned and unthinned forests, but body condition of the most common species was lower in thinned forests. Abundances of amphibians were nearly twice as high in forests and at silvicultural edges than in clearcuts. Clearcutting at these sites appears to have affected amphibian numbers up to 25 years post-harvest, however, silvicultural edges were suitable habitats for amphibians. While commercial thinning did not reduce amphibian numbers, it is an intermediate treatment followed by clearcutting. Where conservation of amphibians is a concern, even-aged silvicultural systems may not provide the most appropriate method for maintaining viable populations on managed forestlands in the northwestern US.

Keywords: amphibians, Ensatina eschscholtzii, Plethodon elongatus, clearcutting, thinning, silvicultural edges, body condition index, movements

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Karraker, N.E.; Welsh Jr, H.H. 2006. Long-term impacts of even-aged timber management on abundance and body condition of terrestrial amphibians in Northwestern California. Biological Conservation, Vol. 131: 132-140


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