Date of Award:

1-1-1976

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Wildland Resources

Advisor/Chair:

J. Juan Spillett

Abstract

The objectives were (1) to relate terrestrial vertebrate responses to the management practices used for lodgepole pine forests within the Barometer Watershed, Mountain View Ranger District, Wasatch National Forest, Utah . (2) To correlate terrestrial vertebrate densities or frequencies with community types, edge, major forest stand structures , and (3) to propose management plans to manipulate densities of major vertebrate species in a predetermined manner.

The study was conducted between 1973-1975 and provides a detailed description of forest vegetation for 53 lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stands. For each of these stands, a complete summary is provided of tree populations, coverage, and frequency of major vascular undergrowth species . Eight lodgepole pine forest community types are defined. A key is provided for identification of each community type and its anticipated habitat type.

The relationships between densities of major vertebrate species, forest communities, and major forest stand structures are described. Big game utilization of ecotones created by mountain meadows and the lodgepole pine forest are discussed. In addition, the response of selected small mammal and big game species to clearcut size is provided. Important research findings were: (1) In the lodgepole pine forest most vertebrates exhibit preferences for specific community types. (2) Due to the broad definition of present habitat classifications, limited predictions can be made about the general response of wildlife populations on most sites. (3) The use of park-like openings and associated peripheral timber hy big game animals is closely associated with community type, edge configuration, and historical travel lanes. (4) An abundance of downed woody material enhances big game calving and resting areas. (S) The number of bird species is closely associated with understory biomass and diversity. (6) Management schemes that speed up the rotation of lodgepole pine overstories eliminate certain vertebrate communities associated with the final successional stages.

The following specific recommendations for overstory removal are suggested. (1) Timber sales should be developed by drainage, with longterm objectives that insure the distribution of a variety of communities within a drainage. (2) The addition of major stand structure information should be included in habitat classification systems. (3) Timber sales should be designed with irregular edges and buffers of standing timber which provide cover and concealment. (4) Moist sites and relic areas, representing the final stages of succession, should be planned into the overall drainage sale philosophy. {5) In relatively undisturbed areas, vehicular travel should be prohibited following overstory removal.

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