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Forest in a Looking Glass

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Published on: Dec. 2, 2003

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

(Conyza canadensis), increased slightly but consistently on even-aged sites. Woody vines, such as grape (Vitis spp.) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), increased everywhere, but most noticeably and consistently on even-aged sites. Common forest legumes, such as the bare-stemmed trefoil (Desmodium nudiflorum), decreased noticeably in harvested areas, possibly as a result of increased competition from more sun-loving plants. Grabner noted that her results did not indicate that the harvests are impacting areas other than those actually cut.

Amphibians and Reptiles

Focusing on 13 species of amphibians and reptiles, Dr. Rochelle Renken and others looked at harvest impacts upon species abundance at both local (in or near a timber harvest sites) and at landscape levels. At the small scale, the study examined the effects of even-aged management by comparing relative abundance among plots located within a clearcut stand, 50 meters away from a clearcut stand and 200 meters away. Sampling both before and after the harvest treatments, Dr. Renken and her associates found that one amphibian species, American toad (Bufo americanus), declined in abundance at the landscape scale for even-aged and uneven-aged treatments. They also declined on no-harvest sites, perhaps suggesting that other factors were influencing these populations. No landscape scale impacts were observed on reptile abundance. While most amphibian species declined and some reptile species increased relative to their numbers before forest stands were clearcut, they only found a "distance-from-clearcut" influence for one species of amphibian, spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum), and for two species of lizards: ground skink (Scincella lateralis) and fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus). Based on her study results so far, Dr. Renken says the initial even-aged and uneven-aged treatments did not adversely affect abundance of amphibians and reptiles in Missouri Ozark forests. These results are encouraging to both resource managers and conservation biologists.

Lichens

One of the most interesting subjects studied at MOFEP were the lichens. Doug Ladd, of the Missouri chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and colleagues sampled lichens in nine MOFEP areas. They took samples from the forest floor, from the base of the trees, mid-way up the tree trunk and on canopy branches. They found more than 180 different species, three of which had never before been discovered.

More than 50 percent of the species were found primarily on trees, while a third were found mainly on rocks. It was fascinating to see the lichens on trees largely separate by tree location, with some lichen species

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