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Title: Ecology of northern flying squirrels: implications for ecosystem management in the Pacific Northwest, USA.

Author: Carey, Andrew B.;

Date: 2002

Source: In: Goldingay, R.L.; Scheibe, J.S., eds. Proceedings of the international theriological congress. Furth, Germany: Filander Verlag: 45-66.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) in the USA Pacific Northwest are keystone species that disseminate the spores of ectomycorrhizal fungi symbiotic with Pinaceae and that are preyed upon by a variety of vertebrate predators. Substantial research has shown that these squirrels tend to be most abundant in naturally regenerated forests >100 years old (old growth and younger mixed-age forest with legacies from old growth), whereas abundance in second-growth forests is highly variable and often quite low. Flying squirrels vary in life history attributes from north to south, including adult body mass, rate of juvenile weight gain, age of sexual maturation for females, proportion of females that are sexually active, survivorship, population age structure, and population density. Some life-history attributes and predation seem density dependent. There is less variation between managed and old forest within physiographic provinces than among physiographic provinces. The most common difference between managed and natural forests is population density. Environmental correlates of abundance vary among areas, but seem to include abundance of coarse woody debris in drier regions dominated by Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), abundance of ericaceous shrubs in wetter regions dominated by western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), abundance of cavity trees, and habitat breadth variety of vegetation site types that differ in species composition, foliage height diversity, and, possibly, deciduous trees that produce cavities and seeds, nuts, catkins, or other food that augments the squirrel's diet. Flying squirrel ecology provides practical insights for forest ecosystem management and conservation Pacific Northwest forests.

Keywords: Glaucomys sabrinus, flying squirrel, keystone species, ecosystem management

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Citation:


Carey, Andrew B. 2002. Ecology of northern flying squirrels: implications for ecosystem management in the Pacific Northwest, USA. In: Goldingay, R.L.; Scheibe, J.S., eds. Proceedings of the international theriological congress. Furth, Germany: Filander Verlag: 45-66.

 


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