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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19304

Title: Modelling Effects of Partial Harvesting on Wildlife Species and their Habitat
Authors: Vanderwel, Mark Christopher
Advisor: Malcolm, Jay R.
Caspersen, John
Department: Forestry
Keywords: Forest management
Issue Date: 3-Mar-2010
Abstract: In Canada’s eastern boreal forest region, partial-harvest silviculture has garnered increasing support for maintaining wildlife species and habitat structure associated with late-successional forests. If late-successional species can find suitable habitat in managed stands that retain a certain number, type, and pattern of live trees, then partial harvesting might represent a viable tool for maintaining species associated with old and complex forests. I used several indirect forms of inference to evaluate whether late-successional vertebrate species can be maintained within partially harvested stands in the eastern boreal forest. A meta-analysis of studies across North America showed that no bird species decreased in abundance by half where light harvesting retained at least 70% of live trees. However, adverse effects occurred at lower levels of retention, with some bird species unlikely to use harvested stands with less than 50% retention until appropriate habitat structure returned. A spatially explicit stand dynamics model showed that while partial harvesting can promote development of understory saplings, downed wood, and heterogeneity, it can also induce long-term decreases in the abundances of large trees and snags. Consequently, species dependent on the latter, such as brown creepers (Certhia americana) and northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus), were projected to be more susceptible to partial harvesting than those associated with other types of structure. At a more detailed scale, a neighbourhood model developed from live-trapping data revealed that southern red-backed voles (Myodes gapperi) exhibited local associations with several late-successional features within boreal mixedwood stands. Their associations with some features depended on stand-level habitat conditions, which suggested that vole habitat in managed stands could be improved by retaining live trees and downed wood. A spatially explicit model of optimal home range establishment that incorporated these relationships fit vole abundance data marginally better than an aspatial habitat model. When the home range model was applied to simulated partially harvested stands, it predicted that spatial heterogeneity could have a positive effect on vole abundance, but only at harvest intensities of 70-90% with suppressed shrub cover. With careful attention to issues such as these, partial-harvest silviculture could be useful in maintaining vertebrate biodiversity within eastern boreal forests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19304
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Faculty of Forestry - Doctoral theses

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