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Environ Monit Assess. 2009 Apr;151(1-4):425-35. doi: 10.1007/s10661-008-0286-6. Epub 2008 May 13.

Local and landscape scale factors influencing edge effects on woodland salamanders.

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  • 1Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA. kmoseley@mix.wvu.edu

Abstract

We examined local and landscape-scale variable influence on the depth and magnitude of edge effects on woodland salamanders in mature mixed mesophytic and northern hardwood forest adjacent to natural gas well sites maintained as wildlife openings. We surveyed woodland salamander occurrence from June-August 2006 at 33 gas well sites in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia. We used an information-theoretic approach to test nine a priori models explaining landscape-scale effects on woodland salamander capture proportion within 20 m of field edge. Salamander capture proportion was greater within 0-60 m than 61-100 m of field edges. Similarly, available coarse woody debris proportion was greater within 0-60 m than 61-100 m of field edge. Our ASPECT model, that incorporated the single variable aspect, received the strongest support for explaining landscape-scale effects on salamander capture proportion within 20 m of opening edge. The ASPECT model indicated that fewer salamanders occurred within 20 m of opening edges on drier, hotter southwestern aspects than in moister, cooler northeastern aspects. Our results suggest that forest habitat adjacent to maintained edges and with sufficient cover still can provide suitable habitat for woodland salamander species in central Appalachian mixed mesophytic and northern hardwood forests. Additionally, our modeling results support the contention that edge effects are more severe on southwesterly aspects. These results underscore the importance of distinguishing among different edge types as well as placing survey locations within a landscape context when investigating edge impacts on woodland salamanders.

PMID:
18473183
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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