Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Timber Harvest Impacts Amphibians Differently During Life Stages

Date:
November 4, 2009
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers found that removing all of the trees from a section of the forest had a negative effect on amphibians during their later life cycles, but had some positive effects during amphibians' aquatic larva stages at the beginning of their lives. To lessen the negative effects during the later life stage, scientists recommend partial or selection cuts to forests rather than completely removing trees from an area.

University of Missouri researchers found that removing all of the trees from a section of the forest had a negative effect on amphibians during their later life cycles, but had some positive effects during amphibians' aquatic larva stages at the beginning of their lives.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Missouri-Columbia

Frogs are croaking in clear-cut forests, but not exactly in their traditional manner. University of Missouri researchers found that removing all of the trees from a section of the forest had a negative effect on amphibians during their later life cycles, but had some positive effects during amphibians' aquatic larva stages at the beginning of their lives. To lessen the negative effects during the later life stage, scientists recommend partial or selection cuts to forests rather than completely removing trees from an area. Removing only a portion of trees and canopy allows amphibians to persist better.

Related Articles


The ultimate goal is not to stop the harvest of trees, but to find techniques that can sustain economically valuable timber harvests and protect forest ecosystems, including many species of amphibians, said Ray Semlitsch, Curators' Professor of Biological Science in the College of Arts and Science. Amphibians may be critical for the transfer of nutrients, such as nitrogen from ponds and streams into the uplands for consumption by plants and other forest creatures.

"Amphibians are good bio-indicators of the health of an environment," Semlitsch said. "When amphibians aren't doing well, it's a warning that the rest of the ecosystem isn't doing well. They are sensitive to temperature and water loss and take on the same temperature as the area around them. Because of their sensitivity, amphibians are the most endangered of the vertebrates. About one-third of the species world-wide are in danger of extinction."

In the study, researchers examined how clear-cutting and timber harvest techniques affect amphibians during different life stages. Surprisingly, researchers found that timber harvest has a positive effect on the aquatic stage of the amphibian's life. Without shade over the pond, algae grew faster in direct sunlight and productivity in the pond increased. The larval amphibians ate the increased algae and grew larger and faster. However, this benefit was temporary; when amphibians left the pond, they were more likely to die.

"The trouble starts for amphibians the moment they walk out of the pond," Semlitsch said. "When you remove all the trees from the forest, it has devastating effects on the amphibian population. Without a canopy above, open areas basically cook amphibians."

The study was a coordinated effort during a five-year period in three different locations in Maine, South Carolina and Missouri. Researchers were able to cross reference what was happening to the same types of frogs and salamanders in the three locations. Prior studies have been conducted on amphibians in clear-cut environments, but this was the first to compare data during different stages of life across multiple regions.

The study, "Effects of Timber Harvest on Amphibian Populations: Understanding Mechanisms from Forest Experiments," recently was published in BioScience.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Timber Harvest Impacts Amphibians Differently During Life Stages." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091103112249.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2009, November 4). Timber Harvest Impacts Amphibians Differently During Life Stages. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091103112249.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Timber Harvest Impacts Amphibians Differently During Life Stages." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091103112249.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

AFP (Apr. 18, 2015) In the Himalayan town of Lukla, excitement mingles with fear as mountaineers make their way up to Everest a year after an avalanche killed 16 guides and triggered an unprecedented shut-down of the world&apos;s highest peak. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) "Water cops" in Los Angeles remind the public about water conservation methods amid California&apos;s prolonged drought. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

AFP (Apr. 17, 2015) Scientists gathered at a European Space Agency (ESA) facility outside Rome this week for the Planetary Defence Conference 2015 to discuss how to tackle the potential threat from asteroids hitting Earth. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Five years after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, splotches of oil still dot the seafloor and wads of tarry petroleum-smelling material hide in pockets in the marshes of Barataria Bay. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins