Coarse woody debris and pine litter manipulation effects on movement and microhabitat use of Ambystoma talpoideum in a Pinus taeda stand
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Forest Ecology and Management 191:387-396
We examined effects of coarse woody debris (CWD) and pine litter (PL) manipulations on movement and microhabitat use by mole salamanders (Ambystoma talpoideum) in the upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Individuals were tracked within field enclosures using harmonic radar detection from 3 December 2002 to 1 August 2003. Enclosure study one (ESI) consisted of three treatments: (1) high CWD/high PL; (2) low CWD/low PL; (3) high CWD/low PL. Enclosure study two (ES2) consisted of two treatment types: complete PL removal and unmanipulated control. Activity of A. talpoideum within ES high CWD/low PL, low CWD/high PL and high CWD/high PL treatments did not differ. Individuals subject to ES2 PL removal treatments moved during more nights than individuals in control treatments. During night surveys ES2 PL removal treatments moved on a greater percentage of nights, and were active for longer periods of time, than individuals in control treatments. A. talpoideum exposed to low PL treatments may have utilized CWD as a means of compensating for inadequate microclimate conditions provided by reduced pine litter depth. Our results suggest that reduction of CWD and pine litter has little effect on A. talpoideum activity levels. Conversely, complete pine litter removal prompts individual salamanders to move more frequently and for longer periods, thereby potentially being subjected to increased desiccation and predation risk. Within managed pine forests in the southeastern United States, forest management practices that minimize pine litter and CWD removal can help to maintain suitable habitat for amphibian groups such as ambystomatid salamanders.
KeywordsArnbystomidae; Ambystoma talpoideum; Coarse woody debris; Pine litter; Plantation silviculture
Moseley, Kurtis R.; Castleberry, Steven B.; Ford, W. Mark. 2004. Coarse woody debris and pine litter manipulation effects on movement and microhabitat use of Ambystoma talpoideum in a Pinus taeda stand. Forest Ecology and Management 191:387-396