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Title: Forest floor temperature and relative humidity following timber harvesting in southern New England, USA
Author: Brooks, Robert T.; Kyker-Snowman, Thomas D.
Publication: Forest Ecology and Management. 254: 65-73.
Key Words: forest floor, forest harvest, microclimate, relative humidity, temperature
Abstract: Forest amphibians, especially salamanders, prefer forests with shaded, cool, and moist forest floors. Timber harvesting opens the forest canopy and exposes the forest floor to direct sunlight, which can increase forest floor temperatures and reduce soil moisture. These microclimatic changes can potentially degrade the harvested stand for amphibian habitat or affect other biotic resources or ecological processes at the forest floor and in the understory. The degree of forest floor disturbance is directly related to the intensity of harvesting, however, the duration of this effect is unknown. We conducted a study of forest floor temperature and relative humidity over a 12-year chronosequence (1993?2004) of timber harvests. We compared simultaneous, paired measurements of temperature and relative humidity at three positions (soil, forest floor, air) in harvested and control sites over three seasonal survey sessions. Vegetation composition and structure were measured at each survey location. Ambient weather conditions were recorded at three open-field locations across the study area.
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