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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: October 1, 2004

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