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Title: Herpetological Communities of the Middle Rio Grande Bosque: What Do We Know, What Should We Know, and Why?

Author: Chung-MacCoubrey, Alice L.; Bateman, Heather L.;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 57-66

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Amphibians and reptiles (herpetofauna) play important roles within ecosystems. Similar to many birds and mammals, they are major consumers of terrestrial arthropods. However, amphibians and reptiles are more efficient at converting food into biomass and are a higher quality food source for predators. Recent declines in some herpetofaunal populations have stimulated a greater overall interest in the monitoring of these populations. Although studies have examined the use of exotic plant-invaded ecosystems by birds and mammals, few have focused on the herpetofaunal community. Specifically, there is little information on the ecology and management of reptiles and amphibians within riparian cottonwood forest (bosque) along the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico. Invasion by exotic plant species and accumulation of woody debris have led to high fuel loadings and thus the risk of catastrophic fire in the bosque. Thus, land managers are interested in removing exotics and reducing fuels by various techniques. To effectively manage habitat and make sound decisions, managers must understand how various fuels reduction treatments affect wildlife communities, including the distribution, abundance, and ecology of amphibian and reptile populations. In 1999, the U.S. Forest Service- Rocky Mountain Research Station initiated a study to monitor and evaluate the response of vegetation and wildlife to three fuel reduction treatments in the Middle Rio Grande bosque. This component of the study will evaluate the impact of treatments on herpetofauna. Using pre- and post-treatment capture data from pitfall and funnel traps, we will analyze species-specific and community level responses to the treatments. Specifically, we will address how these treatments affect survivorship, species richness, abundance, diversity, reproduction, and community energy flow.

Keywords: monitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, amphibians, reptiles. herpetofauna, herpetological communities

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Chung-MacCoubrey, Alice L.; Bateman, Heather L. 2006. Herpetological Communities of the Middle Rio Grande Bosque: What Do We Know, What Should We Know, and Why?. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 57-66

 


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