Date of Award
Open Access Master's Thesis
Master of Science in Forest Ecology and Management (MS)
Administrative Home Department
College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Jared D. Wolfe
Committee Member 1
Kristin E. Brzeski
Committee Member 2
Julia I. Burton
Small mammal populations, and predators reliant upon them as food resources, are often challenged by conflicting objectives of timber production and maintenance of quality habitat. With over 70% of the landscape forested, and nearly one-third of the land privately owned, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) is a matrix of independent management strategies. To assess the effects of various silvicultural regeneration methods on small mammal populations in the Upper Peninsula, we trapped small mammals in experimental silviculture plots, whereby treatments varied by regeneration method (amount of residual canopy cover) and site preparation (i.e., control, tip-up, and scarification), and deer exclosures. We used capture data from experimental treatments to estimate small mammal species richness and variation in community structure. Our results suggest that increased canopy cover, two years post-harvest, resulted in decreased small mammal species richness and greater variability in community structure. Conversely, small mammal communities varied marginally across site preparations, while mid-canopy retention strategies resulted in more stable communities, possibly mitigating short-term site preparation disturbance. I recommend maximizing biodiversity at the regional scale by incorporating mid-canopy retention methods, which retain approximately 30 – 60% canopy cover, with tip-ups as CWD to provide suitable habitat heterogeneity and food resources, as the core prescription to maintain stable small mammal communities upon which mesopredator populations depend. Ultimately, our results can be applied to larger spatial scales, with potential to influence wildlife and timber management across the northern hardwood bioregion.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Gusick, Breanna R., "EFFECTS OF DISSIMILAR SILVICULTURAL TECHNIQUES ON SMALL MAMMAL COMMUNITIES IN MICHIGAN'S UPPER PENINSULA", Open Access Master's Thesis, Michigan Technological University, 2022.