Source: USDA Forest Service - Southern Research Station submitted to
EFFECTS OF ALTERNATIVE FOREST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES (ESPECIALLY UNEVEN-AGED MANAGEMENT) ON HABITAT AND WILDLIFE COMMUNITIES
Sponsoring Institution
Forest Service/USDA
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0197817
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
SRS-4251-3
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Mar 15, 2000
Project End Date
Oct 15, 2007
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Thill, R. E.
Recipient Organization
USDA Forest Service - Southern Research Station
200 WEAVER BLVD., PO BOX 2680
ASHEVILLE,NC 28804
Performing Department
WLDLF HABITAT & SILVIC LAB - NACOGDOCHES, TX
Non Technical Summary
This research was initiated to assess wildlife and habitat responses to an array of pine regeneration methods in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. Research to date has focused on forest birds, bats and other small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and hard and soft mast.
Animal Health Component
50%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
50%
Developmental
50%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1350830107050%
1350860107050%
Goals / Objectives
The Ouachita Mountains Ecosystem Management Research and Demonstration Project was initiated in 1993 to (1) determine if shortleaf pine could be successful produced using a diversity of silvicultural systems within the Interior Highlands of Arkansas and Oklahoma and (2) to assess environmental, social, and economic consequences of these different management approaches. Stand-level research within this problem area is investigating bird, small mammal, and habitat responses to four (two even- and two uneven-aged) treatments (plus untreated, late-rotation controls): traditional clearcutting and planting, shelterwood, single-tree selection, and group selection. Larger scale research under this problem area includes the following studies: (1) herpetofauna, lepidoptera, moth and nectar plant responses to shortleaf pine-bluestem restoration; (2) modeling and validating bird, amphibian, and reptile habitat relationships using stand- and landscape-level habitat variables; and (3) roosting ecology of tree-roosting bats under different forest conditions and management systems
Project Methods
For the stand-level study, we are using standard point-count protocols to survey breeding birds during the spring and Sherman live traps to sample winter small mammal communities. For the shortleaf pine-bluestem study, we used drift fence arrays and pit-fall traps to sample amphibian and reptile communities within untreated, late-rotation control stands and in restored stands within the first, second, and third year following prescribed burn. Lepidoptera, nectar plants, and moths were sampled within these same four treatments. Butterflies were counted within strip transects during time-constrained searches and related to nectar abundance and time since burning. Moths were sampled using light traps. For the habitat modeling study, we used point-count protocols to sample birds and area-constrained searches to census amphibians and reptiles. Standard radio telemetry procedures are being used to track seven species of tree-roosting bats to summer roost trees. We then characterize the roosts and the habitat surrounding the roost trees at multiple scales. Alternative methods for evaluating habitat selection by tree-roosting bats will also be assessed.

Progress 03/15/00 to 10/15/07

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Research conducted by SRS-4251 (R.E. Thill, Project Leader) has been consolidated into SRS-4159 (J.M. Guldin, Project Leader). PARTICIPANTS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Research conducted by SRS-4251 (R.E. Thill, Project Leader) has been consolidated into SRS-4159 (J.M. Guldin, Project Leader).

Impacts
Research conducted by SRS-4251 (R.E. Thill, Project Leader) has been consolidated into SRS-4159 (J.M. Guldin, Project Leader).

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 10/01/06 to 09/30/07

Outputs
Bats play important ecological roles in forested ecosystems (including consumption of insect pests), but until recently little was known about their habitat requirements in forested environments that lack man-made structures, caves, and mines. This was especially the case for tree-roosting bats, which roost in tree foliage, under tree bark, or in tree crevices and cavities. Likewise, little is known regarding the impacts of forest management practices on bat roosting habitat. Roosts and food are the two most important resources known to affect bat distribution and abundance. Roosts provide protection from predators, thermoregulatory benefits, and places to raise young and interact socially. Most studies of roost selection by forest-dwelling bats have concentrated on microhabitat surrounding roosts without providing information on forest stand-level preferences of bats; thus, those studies have provided only part of the information needed by forest managers. Unit scientists are evaluating daytime summer roost selection by the bat community of the Ouachita Mountains of west-central Arkansas at the tree, stand, and landscape level in a diverse forested landscape. Our results were presented at three conferences: effects of landscape composition and structure on roost selection by forest bats, 36th North American symposium on bat research, Wilmington, NC; summer roosting ecology of eastern pipistrelles in forests of Arkansas, 17th Annual colloquium on conservation of mammals in the southeastern United States, Destin, FL; and niche partitioning by a forest bat community, 87th annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists, Albuquerque, NM. Unit scientists also studied the responses of butterflies to restoration of fire-maintained pine forests in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. One study dealt with fritillaries of the genus Speyeria, including the Diana fritillary, a species of conservation concern. The second study examined the availability and use of nectar resources by monarchs (Danaus plexippus) during their autumn migration to over-wintering sites in Mexico. We presented results at the Crossett Experimental Forest Field Day (Butterflies and board feet: can we have both?); the Arkansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society Annual Meeting, Fort Smith, AR (The Diana fritillary in the Ouachita Mountains); and the 2007 meeting of the Lepidopterists' Society and combined Pacific Slope Meeting, Bakersfield, CA (Egg-laying behavior of the Diana (Speyeria diana) and great spangled (S. cybele) fritillaries in Arkansas. Unit scientist also gave a presentation on "Butterflies, birds, and fire regimes" to the Houston Independent School District Outdoor Education Retreat, Trinity, TX.

Impacts
Over a 6-year period, we studied 428 roosts of 162 individual bats representing six species. At the stand level, all six species were selective in their choice of roosting habitat. Most species preferred to roost in stands that contained mature (≥50 years old) trees but relatively few midstory trees. Five of the six species preferred to roost in association with mature, mixed pine-hardwood forest that had undergone recent partial harvest, midstory removal, and prescribed burning; 41.3% of roosts were located in that habitat, which comprised an average of only 22.8% of available habitat. Five of the six species also preferred older (≥100 years old) mixed pine-hardwood forest. Although 19.9% of roosts from all species were located in 50- to 99-year-old, second-growth forests of mixed pine-hardwood (average of 22.4% of available habitat), that habitat was preferred by only red bats (Lasiurus borealis) and eastern pipistrelles (Pipistrellus subflavus). In partially harvested stands, unharvested buffer strips (greenbelts) surrounding ephemeral streams were used at differing levels by each species; most (90%) eastern pipistrelle roosts were in greenbelts whereas few (2.7%) Seminole bat (L. seminolus) roosts were in greenbelts. Older forests, thinned mature forests with reduced midstories, and greenbelts retained in harvested areas were all important roosting habitats for the bat community in the Ouachita Mountains. Forest managers can use findings from this research to design forest stands and landscapes to better accommodate the needs of tree-roosting bats. This research also demonstrates the importance of open forest conditions (created through active management) and a diversity of stand types to bat communities of the southeastern United States. Both butterfly studies demonstrated that restoration of a frequent prescribed fire regime is beneficial to these species. The substantial increase in flowering of herbaceous plants, and thus increases in nectar resources, was the primary factor in increases in butterfly abundance. The research on butterfly responses to ecosystem restoration using prescribed fire on the Ouachita National Forest provides additional documentation of the multiple benefits of this ecological restoration program. In addition, the research on monarchs provides a better understanding of the habitat requirements of this species. This will improve the potential to maintain the spectacular annual migration between the temperate United States and central Mexico with its substantial conservation and economic benefits.

Publications

  • Perry, R. W.; Thill, R. E. 2007. Summer roosting ecology of eastern pipistrelles in forests of Arkansas [abstract]. Page 14 in 17th colloquium on conservation of mammals in the southeastern United States and 12th annual meeting of the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network; Destin, FL
  • Perry, Roger W.; Thill, Ronald E. 2007. Roost partitioning by a forest bat community [abstract]. In 87th annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists; Albuquerque, NM. (on CD)
  • Perry, Roger W. and Thill, Ronald E. 2007. Roost characteristics of hoary bats in Arkansas. American Midland Naturalist 158(1): 132-138.
  • Perry, Roger W. and Thill, Ronald E. 2007. Roost selection by male and female northern long-eared bats in a pine-dominated landscape. Forest Ecology and Management 247(1-3): 220-226.
  • Guldin, J. M., W. H. Emmingham, S. A. Carter, and D. A. Saugey. 2007. Silvicultural practices and management of habitat for bats. In: M. J. Lacki, J. P. Hayes, and A. Kurta, eds. Bats in forests: Conservation and management. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press: 177-205.
  • Perry, R. W.; Thill, R. E. 2007. A habitat characterization for the fulvous harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys fulvescens) in the Ouachita Mountains [abstract]. Page 21 in 17th annual colloquium on conservation of mammals in the southeastern United States and 12th annual meeting of the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network; Destin, FL.
  • Perry, Roger W. and Thill, Ronald E. 2007. Tree roosting by male and female eastern pipistrelles in a forested landscape. Journal of Mammalogy 88(4): 974-981.
  • Perry, Roger W.; Thill, Ronald E.; Leslie, David M., Jr. 2006. Effects of landscape structure and composition on roost selection by forest bats [abstract]. Page 60 in 36th annual North American symposium on bat research; Wilmington, NC.
  • Perry, Roger W., Thill, Ronald E., and Leslie, David M., Jr. 2007. Selection of roosting habitat by forest bats in a diverse forested landscape. Forest Ecology and Management 238(1-3): 156-166.
  • Rudolph, D. Craig, Ely, Charles A., Schaefer, Richard R., Williamson, J. Howard, and Thill, Ronald E. 2006. The Diana fritillary (Speyeria diana) and great spangled fritillary (S. cybele): dependence on fire in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 60(4): 218-226.
  • Rudolph, D. Craig, Ely, Charles A., Schaefer, Richard R., Williamson, J. Howard, and Thill, Ronald E. 2006. Monarch (Danaus plexippus L. Nymphalidae) migration, nectar resources and fire regimes in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 60(3): 165-170.
  • Rudolph, D. Craig; Schaefer, Richard R.; Williamson, J. Howard; Ely, Charles A.; Baltosser, William H.; Baltosser, Virginia. 2007. Egg-laying behavior of the Diana (Speyeria diana) and great spangled (S. cybele) fritillaries in Arkansas [abstract]. In 58th annual meeting of the Lepidopterists' Society; Bakersfield, CA.
  • Thill, R. E.; Rudolph, D. C.; Koerth, N. E. 2006. Responses of nectar plants and lepidoptera to shortleaf pine-grassland restoration in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas [abstract]. Pages 34-35 in Shortleaf pine: Restoration and ecology in the Ozarks; Springfield, MO.
  • Watt, Christopher L.; White, Don; Thill, Ronald E.; Wigley, T. Bentley; Reynolds, Christopher J.; Perry, Roger W.; Melchiors, M. Anthony. 2007. Effects of forest management intensity on structuring breeding bird communities in west-central Arkansas [abstract]. In 13th annual conference, The Wildlife Society; Anchorage, AK. (on CD)


Progress 10/01/05 to 09/30/06

Outputs
Even-aged silviculture employing clear-cutting and planting of pines has dominated forest management practices in the South for about five decades. In response to growing public opposition to clear-cutting, the Forest Service began evaluating alternatives to clearcutting in the 1990s. One such endeavor was initiated on the Ouachita National Forest in west-central Arkansas and east-central Oklahoma in 1991. Station scientists monitored small mammal populations and their habitat responses in forested stands in which overstory trees were harvested using one of four regeneration treatments (single-tree selection, group selection, shelterwood, and clear-cutting) and compared these to small mammal populations in unharvested controls (mature, second-growth forest). Understanding the impacts of different forest management treatments on small mammal populations is important because these animals play a host of important ecological roles in forested ecosystems. Small-mammal populations were monitored in 20 forest stands two years prior to harvesting, and again 1.5, 3.5, and 5.5 years after harvesting. Of these 20 stands, four were treated with each of the five different forest management options, including an unharvested control. Before harvest, all stands where characterized by high basal areas (BA), sparse understory vegetation, and low small-mammal capture rates. After harvest, capture rates for all species of small mammals were significantly greater, regardless of what harvest method was used. Just 1.5 years after the harvest, the small mammal capture rate increased nearly five-fold. Some species were captured more frequently in stands harvested in a specific way or with certain characteristics of the vegetation. For example, fulvous harvest mice (Reithrodontomys fulvescens) were most frequently captured in clearcuts. These mice, along with cotton rats (Sigmondon hispidus) and pine voles (Microtus pinetorum), appeared to prefer stands with abundant herbaceous vegetation in the understory and low BA. Eastern woodrats (Neotoma floridana), golden mice (Ochrotomys nuttalli), and Peromyscus spp. were associated with moderate to dense woody vegetation in the understory and intermediate BA levels. None of the small mammal species was captured exclusively in unharvested stands; most taxa captured appear to tolerate disturbances from timber harvest. The reduced BA and disturbance associated with any of the four timber harvest treatments tend to create habitats that are attractive to small mammals. Increases in understory herbaceous and woody vegetation, down wood and logs, and soft mast were accompanied by increases in overall numbers of small mammals. Even the less-intense regeneration methods such as group selection resulted in significant increases in small-mammal abundance. Some small mammal species appear to prefer the habitat conditions that resulted from a specific regeneration method. Management that includes variety of regeneration methods, varying in size and intensity, across the landscape would increase the likelihood that suitable habitats are maintained for a variety of small mammals and other wildlife species.

Impacts
Results from this research explain how different silvicultural systems impact small mammal communities in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas during the first 6 years following harvesting.

Publications

  • Alterman, L.E.; Bednarz, J.C.; Thill, R.E. 2005. Use of group-selection and seed-tree cuts by three early-successional migratory species in Arkansas. 117(4): 353-363.
  • Loehle, C.; Wigley, T.B.; Rutzmoser, S.; [and others]. 2005. Managed forest landscape structure and avian species richness in the southeastern U.S., Forest Ecology and Management. 214(1-3): 279-293.
  • Mitchell, M.S.; Rutzmoser, S.H.; Wigley, T.B.; [and others]. 2006. Relationships between avian richness and landscape structure at multiple scales using multiple landscapes. Forest Ecology and Management. 221(1-3): 155-169.
  • Perry, R.W. 2006. Stand- and landscape-level roost selection by forest bats in the Ouachita Mountains. Stillwater, OK: Oklahoma State University. 87 p.
  • Perry, R.W.; Thill, R.E. 2005. Small-mammal responses to pine regeneration treatments in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 219(1): 81-94.


Progress 10/01/04 to 09/30/05

Outputs
Although single-tree selection uneven-aged management is being used increasingly on southern national forests as an alternative to clearcutting and planting of pine, its effects on wildlife are largely unknown. We compared breeding season bird abundance, species richness, diversity, and composition among uneven-aged stands and six seral stages of even-aged stands in upland pine (predominantly loblolly pine) forests of eastern Texas. Even-aged stands 18 to 80 years old generally had the lowest abundance, richness, and diversity of birds; uneven-aged stands and even-aged stands 1 to 9 years old generally had comparable values for all three of these measures. Numbers of migrant birds were highest in seedling, sapling, and pre-commercially thinned even-aged stands. Although many migrants were encountered in uneven-aged stands, their frequencies of occurrence there (even in the most recently harvested stands) were generally less than in early succession even-aged stands. The absence or scarcity of a number of early succession species (e.g., prairie warbler, common yellowthroat, eastern kingbird, and blue grosbeak) in all our uneven-aged stands (and especially the most recently thinned ones) suggests that this system may not be appropriate for their management. However, this system may provide suitable habitat for two early-succession species (yellow-breasted chat and indigo bunting) and at least acceptable habitat for a number of migrants that prefer patchy, shrubby habitat and/or multiple strata such as the black-and-white warbler, hooded warbler, Kentucky warbler, yellow-billed cuckoo, and white-eyed vireo. Our uneven-aged stands also were utilized by many mature-forest species, including the red-eyed vireo and summer tanager. While overall bird abundance, species richness, and diversity under single tree selection may be comparable or higher than that found throughout most of a typical national forest even-aged rotation, our data suggest that single tree selection management will not provide suitable habitat for many migrant species that require early succession conditions. Those bird species that are dependent on larger forest openings or early seral conditions created by more intensive site disturbances (as occurs following clearcutting and seed-tree cutting) may be adversely affected if extensive areas were managed under single tree selection. With sufficiently long rotation lengths, even-aged management can be tailored to accommodate most forest birds by providing a complete spectrum of successional stages. Data presented here suggest that this may not be possible using only single-tree selection, because even the most recently thinned stands were unacceptable to a number of early succession species. Nevertheless, single tree selection stands were readily utilized by a number of migrants, including several species of conservation concern, and several species of conservation concern occurred more frequently in uneven- than even-aged stands. Consequently, to better emulate naturally occurring ecological processes and disturbance sizes, a mix of even- and uneven-aged management could be used to achieve bird conservation objectives.

Impacts
Forest managers and landowners now have additional information to help them decide whether to regenerate their pine forest using an even- or uneven-aged management approach.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 10/01/03 to 09/30/04

Outputs
Station employees and cooperators published 12 wildlife papers in the recently released Ouachita Mountains Symposium: Ecosystem Management Research. These papers describe the initial findings of this long-term research and demonstration project. This research was initiated in 1993 in response to growing public opposition to clearcutting; this harvest and regeneration technique had been the primary pine regeneration system used by the Forest Service throughout much of the U.S. The biological, social, and economic impacts of managing these pine ecosystems with methods other than clearcutting and planting were assessed by a series of multi-disciplinary studies that comprised this long-term research project. Within individual forest stands, habitat conditions and breeding bird and small mammal communities were monitored in four untreated pine-hardwood stands, stands in which trees were harvested using clearcutting (4 stands), shelterwood (4), single-tree selection (4), and group selection (4) regeneration methods. Results indicated that the volume of down wood was consistently greater in harvested stands than in the untreated stands at two, four, and six years after harvest. Down wood is important to small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and other taxa. Snags (standing dead trees) decreased over time under all treatments, indicating that snag recruitment from insects, diseases, and lightning is not keeping pace with snag losses. Unfortunately, few of the snags were large enough for cavity excavation by larger woodpeckers. In all treatments, even though there were many fruit-producing woody plants present, just seven of these species produced 48-100% of the fruit food source. Untreated stands on south-facing slopes were characterized by low bird abundance, species richness, and diversity. However, these same stands provide important habitat for several species of conservation concern. Bird abundance, richness and diversity were generally highest where the harvest was most intensive and lowest where disturbances were least. All stands were largely even-aged at study initiation. Stands selected for single-tree and group selection are slowly transitioning to an uneven-aged stand; this process will take another 10-20 years. Thus, it is too early to draw conclusions comparing uneven-aged (single-tree and group selection) versus even-aged (clearcut and shelterwood) treatments. Similar studies of the impact of various forest management strategies on wildlife were conducted on breeding birds, amphibians, and reptiles across entire watershed treated with similar silvicultural strategies. Data were collected on wildlife species and the habitats available on four watersheds managed at different intensities. Initial findings indicated that highest vertebrate abundance, species richness, and diversity were found on the most intensively managed, forest industry watershed. This research contributes to our knowledge of southeastern mountain and highland ecosystems.

Impacts
This long-term research is providing a scientific basis for managing the Ouachita Mountains in a sustainable fashion while providing both forest products and healthy, diverse wildlife populations.

Publications

  • Crosswhite, D.L.; Fox, S.F.; Thill, R.E. 2004. Herpetological habitat relations in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. Guldin, J.M. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 273-282.
  • Fox, S.F.; Shipman, P.A.; Thill, R.E.; Phelps, J.P.L., David M., Jr. 2004. Amphibian communities under diverse forest management in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 164-173.
  • Perry, R.W.; Thill, R.E. 2003. Initial effects of reproduction cutting treatments on residual hard mast production in the Ouachita Mountains. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry. 27(4): 253-258.
  • Perry, R.W.; Thill, R.E.; Carter, S.A. 2004. The Ouachita Mountain bat roosting study [Abstract] [Abstract]. In: Program abstracts of the 2nd bats and forests symposium and workshop; 2004 March 9-12. Program abstracts of the 2nd bats and forests symposium and workshop; 2004 March 9-12. University of Kentucky: [not paginated]
  • Perry, R.W.; Thill, R.E.; Tappe, P.A.; Peitz, D.G. 2004. Initial response of individual soft mast-producing plants to different forest regeneration methods in the Ouachita Mountains. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 60-70.
  • Perry, R.W.; Thill, R.E.; Tappe, P.A.; Peitz, D.G. 2004. The relationship between basal area and hard mast production in the Ouachita Mountains. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 55-59.
  • Phelps, J.P. 2004. Aquatic turtles of diversely managed watersheds in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 183-186.
  • Shipman, P.A.; Fox, S.F.; Thill, R.E.; [and others] 2004. Reptile communities under diverse forest management in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 174-182.
  • Tappe, P.A.; Thill, R.E.; Melchiors, M.A.; Wigley, T.B. 2004. Breeding bird communities on four watersheds under different forest management scenarios in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 154-163.
  • Tappe, P.A.; Thill, R.E.; Peitz, D.G.; Perry, R.W. 2004. Early succession bird communities of group-selection openings and clearcuts in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 42-54.
  • Tappe, P.A.; Weih, R.C., Jr.; Thill, R.E.; [and others] 2004. Landscape characterization of four watersheds under different forest management scenarios in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 146-153.
  • Taulman, J.F.; Smith, K.G. 2004. Home range, habitat selection, and population dynamics of southern flying squirrels in managed forests in Arkansas. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 71-75.
  • Thill, R.E.; Perry, R.W. 2003. Summer roost characteristics of eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis) in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas [Abstract] [Abstract]. In: Programs and abstracts of the 33rd annual North American symposium on bat research; 2003 October 8-11. Programs and abstracts of the 33rd annual North American symposium on bat research; 2003 October 8-11. Lincoln, NE: [Unknown]: 78
  • Thill, R.E.; Perry, R.W.; Carter, S.A.; Koerth, N.E. 2004. Roosts of tree bats in a diverse forest landscape of the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas [Abstract] [Abstract]. In: Program abstracts of the 2004 USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, all scientists meeting; 2004 March 2-4. Our past, present and future: the SRS in a changing environment: Program abstracts of the 2004 USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, all scientists meeting; 2004 March 2-4. Atlanta, GA: USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station: [not paginated]
  • Thill, R.E.; Perry, R.W.; Koerth, N.E. 2003. Characteristics of red bat diurnal roosts in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas [Abstract] [Abstract]. In: Program and abstracts of The Wildlife Society: 10th annual conference; 2003 September 6-10. Excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education: Program and abstracts of The Wildlife Society: 10th annual conference; 2003 September 6-10. Burlington, VT: The Wildlife Society: 260
  • Thill, R.E.; Perry, R.W.; Koerth, N.E. 2003. Initial bird responses to alternative pine regeneration methods in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma [Abstract] [Abstract]. In: Programs and abstracts of The Wildlife Society: 10th annual conference; 2003 September 6-10. Excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education: Programs and abstracts of The Wildlife Society: 10th annual conference; 2003 September 6-10. Burlington, VT: The Wildlife Society: 260-261
  • Thill, R.E.; Perry, R.W.; Koerth, N.E.; [and others] 2004. Initial small mammal responses to alternative pine regeneration methods in Arkansas and Oklahoma: preliminary findings. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 29-35.
  • Thill, R.E.; Perry, R.W.; Koerth, N.E.; [and others] 2004. Initial wildlife habitat responses to alternative forest regeneration methods in the Ouachita Mountains [Poster abstract]. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 314.
  • Thill, R.E.; Perry, R.W.; Koerth, N.E.; [and others] 2004. Initial bird responses to alternative pine regeneration methods in Arkansas and Oklahoma: preliminary findings. Guldin, J.M. tech. comp. Ouachita and Ozark Mountains symposium: ecosystem management research. Asheville, NC: USDA For. Serv., Southern Research Station: 36-41.


Progress 10/01/02 to 09/30/03

Outputs
Successful wildlife management and conservation programs are dependent upon a thorough understanding of habitat requirements. Although red bats (Lasiurus borealis) are abundant throughout most of the southeastern United States, little research has been conducted on their ecology until recently. Our objectives were to characterize red bat daytime roost attributes and to determine if roost site selection is influenced by structural differences among forest types and alternative silvicultural methods including both even-and uneven-aged management. This study was conducted in the Ouachita Mountains of central Arkansas within a 6,585-ha study area that contains a diversity of physiographic settings, forest types, silvicultural systems, and mix of federal and industrial ownership. Using radiotelemetry, we tracked 10 male and 15 female red bats over 3 years to 72 visually confirmed roost sites plus 21 roost sites where bats could not be visually pinpointed. Data were collected on roost attributes (e.g., tree species, roost height, tree age) and attributes of the sites surrounding roosts (e.g., overstory canopy height, canopy cover, basal area, aspect). Random trees and plots were also measured and compared with roost and site attributes to determine habitat preference. Red bats roosted primarily in the upper foliage of oaks (Quercus spp.) and hickories (Carya spp.); most roosts (51%) were in white oaks (Q. alba), but mockernut hickory (C. tomentosa) was the only species for which a significant preference was shown. Red bats preferred trees that were older, larger in diameter, and taller than randomly selected trees. Roost plots contained a higher percentage of forest roads than random plots, as red bats often roosted in close proximity to roads. Females roosted higher in the canopy, further from the edge of the crown, and in trees with higher crown bases than males. Red bat roost sites often had a sparse understory and pine midstory and an abundance of large hardwoods; these conditions can be created or enhanced through overstory hardwood retention, mid-story thinning, and periodic prescribed burning. This study is part of the Station's Mountains and Highland Ecosystem Cross Cutting Theme. The study was conducted by the Wildlife Habitat and Silviculture Lab (Nacogdoches, TX) and was partially funded by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Impacts
This study is part of the Station's Mountains and Highland Ecosystem Cross Cutting Theme. The study was conducted by the Wildlife Habitat and Silviculture Lab (Nacogdoches, TX) and was partially funded by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Publications

  • Alterman, L.E.; Bednarz, J.C.; Thill, R.E. 2003. Postfledging survival and ecology of Yellow-breasted Chats in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas [Abstract]. In: 75th annual meeting Cooper Ornithological Society. Flagstaff, AZ: 36
  • Peitz, D.G.; Tappe, P.A.; Thill, R.E.; [and others] 2001. Non-target captures during small mammal trapping with snap traps. Louisvile, KY: 382-388.
  • Russell, C.C. 2002. An early history of the Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest: Utilizing interactive multimedia and oral histories. Nacogdoches, Texas: Stephen F. Austin State Universty. 54 p. M.S. thesis.
  • Thill, R.E. 2003. U.S. Forest Service research at Nacogodches, Texas. East Texas Historical Journal. 41(2): 37-47.


Progress 10/01/01 to 09/30/02

Outputs
The unit participates in a long-term research program in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, comparing the responses of wildlife to a variety of forest management practices. As part of these studies, the unit began is studying the roosting behavior of bats that roost in trees during the summer. Diurnal roost sites are critical habitat for bats and their availability may limit populations and distribution of certain species of bats. This project is a collaborative effort with the Ouachita National Forest and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.Bats were captured in mist nets, fitted with tiny transmitters, and then tracked back to their roost sites. Biologists take measurements of the tree in which the bat roosts and the surrounding habitat conditions.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Alterman, L. E.; Bednarz, J. C.; Thill, Ronald E. 2002. Effects of group-selection harvesting on nesting success of Neotropical migratory birds in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. In: Program book and abstracts: Third International Partners In Flight Conference; 2002 March 20-24; Pacific Grove, CA. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]: 3. [Abstract].
  • Peitz, David G.; Tappe, Philip A.; Thill, Ronald E. [and others]. 2001. Non-target captures during small mammal trapping with snap traps [Abstract]. In: The Wildlife Society Southeastern Section Newsletter: 55th annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.[Louisville, Ky]: 43(3): 19.
  • Perry, Roger W.; Thill, Ronald E. 2001. Roosts of tree bats in diverse forest landscape of the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. In: Program book and abstracts: Thirty-first Annual North American Symposium on Bat Research; 2001 October 24-27; Victoria, BC, Canada. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]: 64. [Abstract].
  • Saugey, David A.; Perry, Roger W.; Thill, Ronald E.; Sasse, D. Blake. 2002. The red bat (Lasiurus borealis) in Arkansas: natural history and research. In: Seventh annual meeting of the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network; twelfth annual colloquium on conservation of mammals in the southeastern United States; 2002 February 21-22; Clemson, SC. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]: [Not paged]. [Abstract].
  • Thill, Ronald E.; Perry, Roger W.; Koerth, Nancy E. 2002. Initial bird responses to alternative pine regeneration methods in Arkansas and Oklahoma. In: Program book and abstracts: Third International Partners In Flight Conference; 2002 March 20-24; Pacific Grove, CA. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]: 124. [Abstract].