Site occupancy and spatial co-occurrence of boreal small mammals are favoured by late-decay woody debris

Authors: Fauteux, Dominique1; Mazerolle, Marc J.2; Imbeau, Louis1; Drapeau, Pierre3

Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research, Volume 43, Number 5, 01 2013 , pp. 419-427(9)

Publisher: NRC Research Press

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Abstract:

Dwindling stocks of decaying coarse woody debris (CWD), as a result of forest management and growing interest for biofuels, may jeopardize the persistence of a broad spectrum of organisms such as small mammals. In this study, we quantified the effects of CWD in late-decay stages on the occupancy dynamics of small mammals in managed and unmanaged boreal forests. Probabilities of initial site occupancy, colonization, local extinction, and co-occurrence were modelled for five boreal small mammal species. Southern red-backed voles (Myodes gapperi Vigor) and southern bog lemmings (Synaptomys cooperi Baird) were more likely to occupy sites with high volumes of late-decay CWD early in the summer. The probability of local extinction for deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus Wagner) slightly decreased with an increasing volume of late-decay CWD in harvested sites. Southern red-backed voles and meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus Ord) co-occurred more often in old, uncut forests, as well as harvested sites with high volumes of late-decay CWD. These results suggest that cover provided by late-decay CWD benefited two small rodent species during early reproduction and increased persistence of deer mice later in the summer. Finally, we found that in addition to high live-tree basal areas, high late-decay CWD volume also favours local diversity of small mammals.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2012-0397

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Forest Research, NSERC UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada. 2: Centre for Forest Research, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada. 3: Centre for Forest Research, NSERC UQAT-UQAM Industrial Chair in Sustainable Forest Management, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada.

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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