Initial Response of Amphibian and Small Mammal species to timber and coarse woody debris harvest in Aspen-dominated forests of northern Minnesota.

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Initial Response of Amphibian and Small Mammal species to timber and coarse woody debris harvest in Aspen-dominated forests of northern Minnesota.

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2012-02

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Recently, there has been growing public awareness of both the finite nature and the ecological effects of using fossil fuels to generate energy. This public awareness has created an increased interest in renewable bioenergy resources, especially those produced within a nation’s own borders. In light of this fact, I addressed whether the relative abundance and body condition of amphibians and small mammals varied predictably across forest plots that differ in the amount of woody biomass removal using drift-fence arrays and visual encounter surveys. Results varied between species. However, only two species (Blarina brevicauda and Lithobates sylvaticus) showed a clear negative response to harvest. These data showed that the initial effect of harvest, or harvest and green tree reserve type, appear to be important predictors for many of the amphibian and small mammal species studied. To ensure forest sustainability, further study during stand maturation will be necessary to better ascertain the long-term effects of coarse woody debris harvest on amphibian and small mammal species.

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University of Minnesota M.S. February 2012. Major: Conservation biology. Advisor: Dr. Kenneth H. Kozak. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 58 pages.

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