The Effects of Forest Treatments on Ground – dwelling Herpetofauna and Macroarthropods in Longleaf Pine Forests of South Alabama
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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The purpose of this thesis was to examine long-term effects of forest treatments on captures of herpetofauna, habitat structure, and relative abundance of macroarthropods. In chapter 1, I described my general research questions and reviewed relevant literature. In chapter 2, I compared habitat structure measurements and captures for herpetofaunal species that have similar detection probabilities; I also tested for correlations between these two factors. Eastern spadefoot toad captures were significantly higher in Burn treatments compared to HerbBurn and Mechburn. Additionally, habitat structure measurements were not significantly different across treatments. Modeling captures with habitat measurements using information theory suggested that coarse woody debris was the most important habitat variable for explaining Eastern narrow-mouthed toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) captures, and midstory basal area was the most important habitat variable for explaining Eastern spadefoot toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii) captures. In chapter 3, I compared relative abundance across order, family, and feeding guild levels for ground-dwelling macroarthropods. Carabidae was marginally higher in Burn compared to HerbBurn treatments. Gryllidae was significantly higher in MechBurn compared to Burn and HerbBurn treatments. However, feeding guild relative abundance was not statistically different. In chapter 4, I summarized the main conclusions from this study. Results suggest long-term residual effects on Eastern spadefoot toads and Carabidae from one-time herbicide or mechanical treatments in conjunction with frequent prescribed fire.