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Forests 2015, 6(3), 827-838; doi:10.3390/f6030827

Effects of Buffering Key Habitat for Terrestrial Salamanders: Implications for the Management of the Federally Threatened Red Hills Salamander (Phaeognathus hubrichti) and Other Imperiled Plethodontids

1
Department of Environmental Studies and Biology, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC 28815-9000, USA
2
Alabama Natural Heritage Program, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Deanna H. Olson
Received: 1 October 2014 / Accepted: 16 March 2015 / Published: 20 March 2015
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Abstract

Forestry practices are placing ever increasing emphasis on sustainability and the maintenance of ecological processes, biodiversity, and endangered species or populations. Balancing timber harvest and the management of imperiled species presents a particularly difficult challenge during this shift, as we often know very little about these species’ natural history and how and why silviculture practices affect their populations. Accordingly, investigation of and improvement on current management practices for threatened species is imperative. We investigated the effectiveness of habitat buffers as a management technique for the imperiled Red Hills salamander (Phaeognathus hubrichti) by combining genetic, transect, and body-condition data. We found that populations where habitat buffers have been employed have higher genetic diversity and higher population densities, and individuals have better overall body condition. These results indicate that buffering the habitat of imperiled species can be an effective management tool for terrestrial salamanders. Additionally, they provide further evidence that leaving the habitat of imperiled salamanders unbuffered can have both immediate and long-term negative impacts on populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: Plethodon conservation; terrestrial salamander conservation; habitat management; endangered species management; body condition Plethodon conservation; terrestrial salamander conservation; habitat management; endangered species management; body condition
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

Apodaca, J.J.; Godwin, J.C. Effects of Buffering Key Habitat for Terrestrial Salamanders: Implications for the Management of the Federally Threatened Red Hills Salamander (Phaeognathus hubrichti) and Other Imperiled Plethodontids. Forests 2015, 6, 827-838.

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