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10 August 2022 Population and Community Responses of Small Mammals to Single-tree Selection Harvest in Laurentian Hardwood Forests
Allison M. Scott, Jonathan H. Gilbert, Jonathan N. Pauli
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Small mammals are ubiquitous members of vertebrate communities that are sensitive to habitat change. In the Great Lakes region of North America, small mammal communities have changed rapidly, but experimental tests of potential mechanisms are lacking. Using a before-after, control-treatment design, we quantified the response of small mammals to single-tree selection harvest in Laurentian hardwood forests of Wisconsin, United States. We documented changes in forest structure and small mammal abundance, species diversity, and community similarity from silvicultural treatment. Treatment reduced tree density and canopy cover and increased mean tree diameter, woody stem density, variation in woody stem density, and volume of coarse woody debris. Peromyscus and northern short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda) were dominant community members across treatments and years. White-footed mice (P. leucopus) outnumbered woodland deer mice (P. maniculatus gracilis) before treatment, but declined by almost fifty percent after treatment; deer mice and total rodent (i.e., Rodentia) abundances were unchanged. Small mammal species diversity increased twofold following treatment. Our experiment identified species-specific responses within Peromyscus to timber harvest: white-footed mice, the numerically dominant and generalist species, were most sensitive to habitat change, and their response produced cascading effects to small mammal community structure. Future experiments should assess these small mammal responses in a multi-year framework and quantify their effects on the broader vertebrate community.

Allison M. Scott, Jonathan H. Gilbert, and Jonathan N. Pauli "Population and Community Responses of Small Mammals to Single-tree Selection Harvest in Laurentian Hardwood Forests," The American Midland Naturalist 188(1), 1-19, (10 August 2022).
Received: 2 March 2021; Accepted: 3 March 2022; Published: 10 August 2022
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