Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Forestry

First Advisor

Dr. Chris Barton

Second Advisor

Dr. John Cox

Abstract

Salamanders are critical components of forest ecosystems, in terms of total biomass, as well as for their value as indicators of ecosystem stress. Considering the worldwide decline in amphibian populations, the known effects of timber harvest on salamander populations, and the importance of the forest products industry in Kentucky and elsewhere, the impacts of silvicultural operations on salamander communities cannot be overlooked. The objective was to investigate the effects of three different silvicultural treatments, each involving different streamside management zone (SMZ) characteristics, on salamander communities in ephemeral streams. Data were collected by regular checks of pitfall traps, coverboards, and transect searches. Using both pre- and post-harvest data, abundance estimates were acquired using binomial mixture models. Declines in some species of terrestrial and stream-breeding salamanders were detected, and were shown to be likely related to characteristics of the corresponding silvicultural treatment. Applying modest SMZ regulations to ephemeral streams would likely alleviate these declines significantly.

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