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Title: Forest-floor disturbance reduces chipmunk (Tamias spp.) abundance two years after variable-retention harvest of Pacific Northwestern forests

Author: Wilk, Randall J.; Harrington, Timothy B.; Gitzen, Robert A.; Maguire, Chris C.;

Date: 2015

Source: Northwest Science

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We evaluated the two-year effects of variable-retention harvest on chipmunk (Tamias spp.) abundance (N^) and habitat in mature coniferous forests in western Oregon and Washington because wildlife responses to density/pattern of retained trees remain largely unknown. In a randomized complete-block design, six treatments were applied to 13-ha units at three sites (blocks): four retention levels of original basal area (BA) in an aggregated tree pattern (100, 75, 40, and 15%) and two retention levels in a dispersed tree pattern (15 and 40%). Log-yarding method differed at each site (suspension cable, shovel-loader, or helicopter). We used an information-theoretic approach to compare six candidate regression models for their ability to predict treatment responses of chipmunk N^) and associated habitat variables. Chipmunk N^) had a positive linear relationship with retention level that predicted a 50% reduction in abundance as % BA retention decreased from 100 to 15% (R2 = 0.36). Disturbed soil cover was strongly related to the interaction of retention level and block (i.e., yarding method and other site-level differences) (R2 = 0.82), and the model predicted disproportionately greater disturbed area for cable yarding (16%) than for shovel (10%) or helicopter (6%) methods as retention decreased from 100 to 15%. Chipmunk N^) had a negative linear relationship with disturbed soil cover that predicted a 70% reduction in the species’ abundance as disturbed area increased from 0 to 16% (R2 = 0.53). Retention level and yarding method are important considerations when planning harvesting operations because of their potential impacts to small mammal populations.

Keywords: coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii), ecosystem management, log-yarding methods, soil disturbance, Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC)

Publication Notes:

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Wilk, Randall J.; Harrington, Timothy B.; Gitzen, Robert A.; Maguire, Chris C. 2015. Forest-floor disturbance reduces chipmunk ( Tamias spp.) abundance two years after variable-retention harvest of Pacific Northwestern forests . Northwest Science. 89(1): 75-92.


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