We compared herpetofaunal communities in recently harvested gaps, skidder trails, and unharvested depressional wetlands to assess the effects of group-selection harvesting and skidder traffic on reptiles and amphibians in a southern bottomland hardwood forest. From January 1, 1997 to December 31, 1998 we captured 24,292 individuals representing 55 species of reptiles and amphibians at the Savannah River Site in Barnwell County, South Carolina. Forty-two species (n = 6,702 individuals) were captured in gaps, 43 species (n = 8,863 individuals) were captured along skid trails between gaps and 43 species (n = 8,727 individuals) were captured in bottomland depressions over the 2 yr period. Three vegetation variables and six environmental variables were correlated with herpetofaunal abundance. Salamander abundance, especially for species in the genus Ambystoma, was negatively associated with areas with less canopy cover and pronounced rutting (i.e., gaps and skidder trails). Alternatively, treefrog (Hylidae) abundance was positively associated with gap creation. Results from this study suggest that group selection harvests and skidder rutting may alter the herpetofaunal species composition in southern bottomland hardwoods by increasing habitat suitability for some species while diminishing it for others.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - May 1 2002|
- Forested wetlands
- Group selection
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecological Modeling