Effect of coarse woody debris manipulation on soricid and herpetofaunal communities in upland pine stands of the southeastern Coastal Plain
Davis, Justin Charles
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The majority of studies investigating the importance of coarse woody debris (CWD) to forest- floor vertebrates have taken place in the Pacific Northwest and southern Appalachian Mountains, while comparative studies in the southeastern Coastal Plain are lacking. My study was a continuation of a long-term project investigating the importance of CWD as a habitat component for shrew and herpetofaunal communities within managed pine stands in the southeastern Coastal Plain. Results suggest that addition of CWD can increase abundance of southeastern and southern short-tailed shrews. However, downed wood does not appear to be a critical habitat component for amphibians and reptiles. Rising petroleum costs and advances in wood utilization technology have resulted in an emerging biofuels market with potential to decrease CWD volumes left in forests following timber harvests. Therefore, forest managers must understand the value of CWD as an ecosystem component to maintain economically productive forests while conserving biological diversity.