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Title: Reptile, amphibian, and small mammal species associated with natural gas development in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

Author: Moseley, Kurtis R.; Ford, W. Mark; Edwards, John W.; Adams, Mary B.;

Date: 2010

Source: Res. Pap. NRS-10. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 14 p.

Publication Series: Research Paper (RP)

Description: Burgeoning energy demand in the United States has led to increased natural gas exploration in the Appalachian Basin. Despite increasing natural gas development in the region, data about its impacts to wildlife are lacking. Our objective was to assess past and ongoing natural gas development impacts on reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. We sampled 40 gas well sites and compared amphibian, reptile, and small mammal captures among active producing, plugged (inactive), and storage well types. Total species richness and diversity were greater at storage gas well sites than at plugged wells. Although natural gas development adversely impacts moisture-sensitive woodland salamanders, our results suggest that maintained gas well openings may benefit other herpetofauna and small mammal species that use early successional habitat within predominately forested central Appalachian landscapes.

Keywords: Allegheny Mountains, Microtus, natural gas, Peromyscus, Plethodon cinereus

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Moseley, Kurtis R.; Ford, W. Mark; Edwards, John W.; Adams, Mary B. 2010. Reptile, amphibian, and small mammal species associated with natural gas development in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia. Res. Pap. NRS-10. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 14 p.

 


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