Woodland Salamander and Small Mammal Responses to Alternative Silvicultural Practices in the Southern Appalachians of North Carolina

The effects of 2 years post-treatment of group selection and 2-aged timber harvests on woodland salamanders and mammals were assessed on stands in high elevation, southern Appalachian northern red oak (Quercus rubra)-flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum) communities, in the Nantahala National Forest. We collected 4 salamander species and 10 small mammal species. We detected no difference in woodland salamander relative abundance between timber harvests and uncut (control) stands. Similarly, relative abundance of all small mammal species, except masked shrews (Sorex cinereus), was unaffected by timber harvest. Masked shrew relative abundance was greater post-harvest in 2-aged harvest stands than in group selection harvest stands or uncut stands. For masked shrews, these high elevation, 2-aged harvests may have provided an optimal mix of residual overstory shading, dense shrub-layer shading from new regeneration, and abundant downed coarse woody debris. Alternative silvicultural practices such as group selection harvest and 2-aged harvests are compatible with goals of providing timber production without altering small mammal and woodland salamander assemblages on the Wine Spring Creek Ecosystem Management Project area.

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