Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Fuller, A. K., D. J. Harrison, and H. J. Lachowski. 2004. Stand-scale effects of partial harvesting and clearcutting on small mammals and forest structure. Forest Ecology and Management 191:373-386.


Documenting responses of small mammals to alternative forestry practices (e.g., clearcutting versus partial harvesting versus no management) facilitates inferences about effects on wildlife communities. We compared abundances of small mammals (voles, mice, and shrews) during four summers among partially harvested mixed coniferous–deciduous stands (52–59% basal area removal, 15 m2/ha live-tree residual basal area), regenerating commercial clearcuts (11–20-year-old), mature (>12 m tree height) mixed stands, mature deciduous, and mature coniferous stands. Partially harvested stands had significantly greater overall abundance of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) than mature mixed stands, but abundances of red-backed voles (Clethrionomys gapperi) and short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda) were not significantly different. Regenerating clearcut stands had significantly lower abundances of voles and mice relative to mature mixed stands, and ranked low in abundance of shrews. Mature coniferous stands also ranked low in relative abundance of shrews and had the lowest abundance of deer mice relative to other mature stand types. Mature deciduous stands ranked high in abundance of deer mice and had the greatest abundance of short-tailed shrews among all stand types. Despite reduced canopy closure, lower relative density of coniferous trees and saplings, and decreased basal area of deciduous trees and snags, partially harvested stands supported densities of mice and voles comparable to mature mixed-forest types. Forest harvesting practices that retain some structural attributes of mature forests may be beneficial to small mammals and associated predators that utilize mice, voles, and shrews as prey.