Coarse woody debris manipulations and the response of soricid and herpetofaunal communities in mature loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) stands
Owens, Audrey Kirsten
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Coarse woody debris (CWD) may increase abundance of forest-floor dwelling fauna. Understanding the role of CWD in ecosystem function is necessary to manage species that rely on it, however, the extent to which soricids and herpetofauna use CWD is not understood. This research took a large- and small-scale approach to investigate the response of soricids and herpetofauna to CWD manipulations in the southeastern Coastal Plain. The results suggest that the addition of CWD can increase abundance and activity of the southeastern shrew. However, herpetofauna exhibited little response to CWD manipulations. Many Coastal Plain species may be adapted to burrowing in soil or under leaf litter because of naturally low levels of CWD, although these species may use and benefit from CWD. Overall the results suggest that CWD, at least of early to moderate decay, is not a critical habitat component for most soricids and herpetofauna in the southeastern Coastal Plain.