Effects of spring prescribed fire on chipmunk home ranges, and a woodland salamander community in a central Appalachian hardwood forest
Rowan, Ella Lynn
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Forest managers wish to improve oak regeneration in many Appalachian forest types through the use of prescribed fire, however the effects of prescribed fire on fauna communities in these systems are unknown. The objectives of my studies were to examine impacts of spring prescribed fire on eastern chipmunk home range attributes and the woodland salamander community. I used radiotelemetry to examine chipmunk burrow use, home range and core area sizes, and extent of overlap between conspecifics. Results showed prescribed fire had no effect on these attributes, and there were no differences between the sexes. I used coverboard arrays, pre-fire and post-fire surveys, and control groups, to assess the impacts of fire on woodland salamander relative abundance, species richness, body condition and seasonal trends in the presence of different species. Results suggest spring prescribed fire did not have negative short- term effects on the salamander community, with no decreases in relative abundance or species richness. Seasonal changes in the presence of different species aboveground were evident.