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Small-Mammal Relationships with Down Wood and Antelope Bitterbrush in Ponderosa Pine Forests of Central Oregon

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The influence of down wood on fire behavior in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests in central Oregon is much understood. However, little is known about down-wood affiliations with wildlife in this area. Antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) contributes to wildfires, nitrogen fixation, and the food web, yet its influence on small-mammal populations remains poorly defined. In this study, population density, survival, and reproductive status of yellow-pine chipmunks (Tamias amoenus), golden-mantled ground squirrels (Spermophilus lateralis), and deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are estimated under three down-wood and shrub-cover conditions in ponderosa pine/antelope bitterbrush forests of Oregon. The odds for golden-mantled ground squirrel survival are 4.2 times greater on units with high ( = 117.8 m3/ha) versus low down-wood volume ( = 15.8 m3/ha), and each 35.1-m3/ha increase in down wood coincides with a 10% increase in ground squirrel density. Yellow-pine chipmunk densities are 57% higher on units with high ( = 31.2%) versus low total shrub cover ( = 9.2%), and 4.4 and 2.3% increases in total shrub and live bitterbrush cover, respectively, coincide with 10% increases in chipmunk density. Deer mouse populations are little affected by down-wood volume or shrub cover. Study results suggest that management activities influencing down wood or bitterbrush will likely affect the composition of small-mammal communities through population changes in one or more small-mammal species. FOR. SCI. 50(5):711–728.

Keywords: Peromyscus maniculatus; Pinus ponderosa; Purshia tridentata; Spermophilus lateralis; Tamias amoenus; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest Science Oregon State University Corvallis OR 97331-5752 Present address: US Fish and Wildlife Service 4425 Bey Dr., Suite A Chubbuck ID 83202 t_roy_, Email: 2: Department of Forest Science Oregon State University Corvallis OR 97331-5752 Phone: (541) 737-6571;, Fax: (541) 737-1393, Email:

Publication date: 2004-10-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
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