Terrestrial amphibian abundance and species richness in headwater riparian buffer strips, Oregon Coast Range Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/w6634654k

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  • I examined the abundance and habitat associations of terrestrial amphibian species and the species richness of terrestrial amphibian communities in riparian buffer strips, clearcuts, and unmanaged riparian forests. The study was conducted in the western hemlock (Tsuga heteropliylla) vegetation zone of the northern and central Oregon Coast Range. Data were collected on amphibians, vegetation characteristics, and topography at 29 study sites. The abundance of torrent salamanders (Rhyacotriton spp.), ensatinas (Ensatina eschscholtzii), western red-backed salamanders (Plethodon vehiculum), and Dunn's salamander (Plethodon dunni) was greater in unmanaged forests than in recently harvested clearcuts, but the abundance of each species was similar between unmanaged forests and buffer strips. Amphibian species richness was positively correlated with buffer strip width, however even wide buffers (> 40 m) had fewer species than unmanaged forests. The abundance of each amphibian species was only weakly associated (R2 < 0.42) with habitat characteristics that I measured or estimated. I hypothesize that buffer strips 30-40m should adequately protect most amphibian species closely associated with stream-side habitats from effects of timber harvest. Amphibian species that are associated with upslope habitats (e.g., ensatinas) may not benefit from buffer strips.
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