Response of small mammals to variable retention of woody debris following biomass harvests in the Southeast
Farrell, Christopher Brian
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Woody biomass harvesting is defined as the removal of debris normally left after timber harvests (i.e., limbs, tops) to be used in sustainable energy production. Increased use of woody debris left after harvest may negatively affect wildlife species that depend on coarse woody debris (CWD) to meet various life history requirements. Studies that have been conducted on the importance of CWD to small mammals were mainly in standing forests of the Pacific Northwest and southern Appalachian Mountains. I examined the response of small mammals to varying levels of CWD retention after biomass harvests in the southeastern Coastal Plain using models incorporating CWD volume and vegetation characteristics. I captured 10 species in 81,177 trap nights. Vegetation characteristics had more influence on total captures and captures of most species than CWD volume. Based on my results, biomass harvests appear to have limited effect on small mammal abundance.