Recolonization of burned aspen groves by land snails
Land mollusks play an important role in forest productivity, although they usu- ally pass unnoticed. They are part of the invertebrate fauna that busily convert leaf litter and fallen logs into soil nutrients. Litter in aspen groves provides habitat for these snails that feed on living and dead vegetative material. In turn, snails are included in the diet of small mammals and birds.
The mollusks of Yellowstone are not unique to the area, being found in suitable habitats elsewhere. Even in suitable habi- tats their distribution is spotty. Early ma- lacologists who collected in Yellowstone listed the species they found, without further data. Others who were studying a particular genus noted which of its spe- cies were found in the park. In my expe- rience, deciduous forest trees such as aspen generally have a greater abundance and variety of snails than coniferous for- ests on more acidic soils. The limited cover of sage-grassland also has fewer species than aspen stands.
Beetle, D.E., "Recolonization of burned aspen groves by land snails" (1997). Aspen Bibliography. Paper 1578.