Response of Soricid populations to repeated fire and fuel reduction treatments in the southern Appalachian Mountains
Author: Waldrop, Thomas A.;
Source: Forest Ecology and Management 257: 1939-1944
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
Fuel hazards have increased in forests across the United States because of fire exclusion during the 20th
century. Treatments used to reduce fuel buildup may affect wildlife, such as shrews, living on the forest
floor, especially when treatments are applied repeatedly. From mid-May to mid-August 2006 and 2007,
we used drift fences with pitfall traps to capture shrews in western North Carolina in 3 fuel reduction
treatment areas [(1) twice-burned (2003 and 2006), (2) mechanical understory cut (2002), and (3)
mechanical understory cut (2002) followed by 2 burns (2003 and 2006)] and a control. We captured 77%
fewer southeastern shrews (
mechanical treatment areas in 2006, but southeastern shrew captures did not differ among treatment
areas in 2007. Total shrew captures did not differ among treatment areas in either year. Decreases in leaf
litter, duff depth, and canopy cover in mechanical + twice-burned treatment areas may have decreased
ground-level moisture, thereby causing short-term declines in southeastern shrew captures. Prescribed
fire or mechanical fuel reduction treatments in the southern Appalachian Mountains did not greatly
affect shrew populations, though the combination of both treatments may negatively affect some shrew
species, at least temporarily.
Keywords: Fire surrogates, Prescribed fire, Shrews, Soricids, Southern Appalachian Mountains, Understory cutting
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Matthews, Charlotte E., Moorman, Christopher E., Greenberg, Cathryn H., Waldrop, Thomas A. 2009. Response of Soricid populations to repeated fire and fuel reduction treatments in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Forest Ecology and Management 257: 1939-1944.
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