Provide woody debris in ski run area
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Ski-runs are traditionally created by removing trees and undergrowth along with removal of tree stumps and reshaping of topsoil by bulldozing (Ries 1996). As a result, they can present barriers to animal movement (Mansergh & Scotts 1989) and reduce animal abundance (Morrison et al. 1995). The provision of woody debris on ski runs may increase use by small mammals.
Mansergh I.M. & Scotts D.J. (1989) Habitat continuity and social organization of the mountain pygmy-possum restored by tunnel. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 53, 701–707.
Morrison J.R., De Vergie W.J., Alldredge A.W. & AndrEe W.W. (1995) The effects of ski area expansion on elk. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 23, 481–489.
Ries J.B. (1996) Landscape damage by skiing at the Schauinsland in the Black Forest, Germany. Mountain Research and Development, 16, 27–40.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A controlled study in 1999–2001 of coniferous forest and adjacent meadow in Colorado, USA (Hadley & Wilson 2004) found that placing woody debris on ski slopes did not affect overall small mammal abundance and had mixed results on individual species. Differences in abundance between treatments were not tested for statistical significance. In the two years following ski run establishment, a similar number of small mammals was caught each year on a ski run with woody debris (76–77 individuals) and a run without (75–83 individuals). Red-backed voles Clethrionomys gapperi were more abundant where woody debris was added (23–43 individuals) than where no woody debris was added (1–23). Similar numbers of heather voles Phenacomys intermedius were caught in both areas (with debris: 10–16; without debris: 10–19) and there were fewer least chipmunk Tamias minimus in areas with woody debris (15–31 individual) than without (42–46 individuals). Ski runs were established in 1999. One run had one or more tree limbs placed end to end in rows across the run, with rows 3–9 m apart. The other did not contain woody debris. Small mammals were live-trapped over four consecutive days on three occasions in July–September 1999–2001.Study and other actions tested