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Life History as a Predictor of Salamander Recovery Rate from Timber Harvest in Southern Appalachian Forests, U.S.A

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Abstract

Forest management often represents a balance between social, economic, and ecological objectives. In the eastern United States, numerous studies have established that terrestrial salamander populations initially decline in abundance following timber harvest, yet the large‐scale and long‐term consequences are relatively unknown. We used count data from terrestrial survey points to examine the relation between salamander abundance and historic timber harvest while accounting for imperfect detection of individuals. Overall, stream‐ and terrestrial‐breeding salamanders appeared to differ by magnitude of population decline, rate of population recovery, and extent of recolonization from surrounding forest. Specifically, estimated abundance of both species groups was positively associated with stand age and recovery rates were predicted to increase over time for red‐legged salamanders (Plethodon shermani) and decrease in stream‐breeding species. Abundance of stream‐breeding salamanders was predicted to reach a peak by 100 years after timber harvest, and the population growth rate of red‐legged salamanders was predicted to undergo a significant increase 100 years after harvest. Estimated abundance of stream‐breeding salamanders in young forest stands was also negatively associated with the distance to adjacent forest, a result that suggests immigration has a role in the recovery of these species. Our results indicate that salamander abundance in young forest stands may be only modestly lower than in more mature forest but that full recovery from timber harvest may take a substantial amount of time and that species life history may affect patterns of recovery.

Historia de Vida como un Vaticinador de la Tasa de RecuperaciĆ³n de una Salamandra a la Colecta de Madera en los Bosques del Sur de los Apalaches, E.U.A
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Language: Spanish

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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