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Forests 2014, 5(11), 2703-2729; doi:10.3390/f5112703

Near-Term Effects of Repeated-Thinning with Riparian Buffers on Headwater Stream Vertebrates and Habitats in Oregon, USA

1
Pacific Northwest Research Station, US Forest Service, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
2
Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, 321 Richardson Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 October 2014 / Revised: 30 October 2014 / Accepted: 31 October 2014 / Published: 17 November 2014
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Abstract

We examined the effects of a second-thinning harvest with alternative riparian buffer management approaches on headwater stream habitats and associated vertebrates in western Oregon, USA. Our analyses showed that stream reaches were generally distinguished primarily by average width and depth, along with the percentage of the dry reach length, and secondarily, by the volume of down wood. In the first year post-harvest, we observed no effects of buffer treatment on stream habitat attributes after moderate levels of thinning. One of two “thin-through” riparian treatments showed stronger trends for enlarged stream channels, likely due to harvest disturbances. The effects of buffer treatments on salamanders varied among species and with habitat structure. Densities of Plethodon dunni and Rhyacotriton species increased post-harvest in the moderate-density thinning with no-entry buffers in wider streams with more pools and narrower streams with more down wood, respectively. However, Rhyacotriton densities decreased along streams with the narrowest buffer, 6 m, and P. dunni and Dicamptodon tenebrosus densities decreased in thin-through buffers. Our study supports the use of a 15-m or wider buffer to retain sensitive headwater stream amphibians. View Full-Text
Keywords: amphibians; salamanders; timber harvest; Pacific Northwest; Dicamptodon; Rhyacotriton; Plethodon amphibians; salamanders; timber harvest; Pacific Northwest; Dicamptodon; Rhyacotriton; Plethodon
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Olson, D.H.; Burton, J.I. Near-Term Effects of Repeated-Thinning with Riparian Buffers on Headwater Stream Vertebrates and Habitats in Oregon, USA. Forests 2014, 5, 2703-2729.

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