Small mammal population and habitat responses to forest thinning and prescribed fire

  • Published source details Converse S.J., Block W.M. & White G.C. (2006) Small mammal population and habitat responses to forest thinning and prescribed fire. Forest Ecology and Management, 228, 263-273.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Thin trees to reduce wildfire risk

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Thin trees to reduce wildfire risk

    A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 1998–2003 of ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa forest in Arizona, USA (Converse et al. 2006) found that reducing tree density increased abundances of two of four small mammal species. Deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatus and gray-collared chipmunk Tamias cinereicollis captures were both positively associated with decreasing tree density in treatment plots but golden-mantled ground squirrel Spermophilus lateralis and Mexican woodrat Neotoma exicana captures showed no such relationship. Results were presented as statistical model outputs. Three blocks, each with four 14-ha plots, were studied. Treatments comprised removal of all trees except those dating from pre-European settlement and, within 18 m of those trees, retention of 1.5, 2 or 3 trees with dbh ≥41 cm (or twice this many trees with smaller dbh, if larger trees not available). Thinning was conducted in 1999. Most woody debris was then piled up and burned, followed by prescribed burning of the whole plot in April–July 2000. The fourth plot in each block was unmanaged. Small mammals were live-trapped in August–October in 1998–1999 and 2001–2003.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

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