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Special Issue "The 24th IUFRO World Congress: Session 13 Salamanders: World Icons of Aquatic Biodiversity in Forests"

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A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Deanna H. Olson (Website)

Supervisory Research Ecologist, Team Leader—Aquatic Ecology and Management, Land and Watershed Management Research Program, Pacific Northwest Research Station, US Forest Service, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

Salamanders are well-known denizens of northern hemisphere forests, with bi-phasic life histories bridging aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Today, we are still discovering the extent of forest salamander biodiversity, and charting their losses simultaneously. With close ties to forest, water, and climate, salamanders are emerging as contemporary symbols of world forestry sustainability, and its complexity over the next millennia as we strive for wise stewardship inclusive of both water and land resources. 2014 is designated as "Year of the Salamander" by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC; http://parcplace.org/). In collaboration with PARC and international salamander scientists, this special issue of Forests aims to showcase forest salamander research. Manuscript themes may span forestry practices, reserve designs, riparian buffer efficacy, population ecology, climate change models, and genetic tools for connectivity pathway planning and inventory/monitoring (e-DNA). Submissions are encouraged on all forest-occurring taxa, and especially the iconic "giant salamanders," Eurasian salamandrids, and the ecologically important terrestrial plethodontid salamanders, some of which are threatened from forest habitat loss, stream siltation, damming, overexploitation, and chemical and disease effects. In all, salamanders integrate threats to world forest biodiversity, and this special issue is intended to showcase the diversity of taxa and issues.

Dr. Deanna H. Olson
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • forest salamanders
  • biodiversity
  • habitat associations
  • management effects
  • streams
  • ponds
  • down wood
  • population demography
  • conservation biology

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle LAI Variability as a Habitat Feature Determining Reptile Occurrence: A Case Study in Large Forest Complexes in Eastern Poland
Forests 2015, 6(4), 957-972; doi:10.3390/f6040957
Received: 16 January 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2016 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reptile habitats are described using various indices. The definitions of such indices are crucial, as they are applied to habitat modelling for numerous species on local to continental scales. We examined the Leaf Area Index (LAI) for its value as a tool [...] Read more.
Reptile habitats are described using various indices. The definitions of such indices are crucial, as they are applied to habitat modelling for numerous species on local to continental scales. We examined the Leaf Area Index (LAI) for its value as a tool for determining reptile habitat. During measurements carried out in spring and summer months between 2011 and 2013, LAI values were assessed and surveys were conducted on reptile fauna at 11 survey sites in the Solska Forest and Roztocze National Parks areas in Eastern Poland. In total, six Squamata reptiles occurring in Poland were found. We determined that LAI can be utilized as a reptile habitat index, with reptile species associated with LAI seasonal variability as well as LAI range. Moreover, we found that the higher the LAI median value, the greater the variety of reptile species. These findings are useful for development of spatial models of habitats based on LAI as they point to the importance of its seasonal variation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effects of Buffering Key Habitat for Terrestrial Salamanders: Implications for the Management of the Federally Threatened Red Hills Salamander (Phaeognathus hubrichti) and Other Imperiled Plethodontids
Forests 2015, 6(3), 827-838; doi:10.3390/f6030827
Received: 1 October 2014 / Accepted: 16 March 2015 / Published: 20 March 2015
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Abstract
Forestry practices are placing ever increasing emphasis on sustainability and the maintenance of ecological processes, biodiversity, and endangered species or populations. Balancing timber harvest and the management of imperiled species presents a particularly difficult challenge during this shift, as we often know [...] Read more.
Forestry practices are placing ever increasing emphasis on sustainability and the maintenance of ecological processes, biodiversity, and endangered species or populations. Balancing timber harvest and the management of imperiled species presents a particularly difficult challenge during this shift, as we often know very little about these species’ natural history and how and why silviculture practices affect their populations. Accordingly, investigation of and improvement on current management practices for threatened species is imperative. We investigated the effectiveness of habitat buffers as a management technique for the imperiled Red Hills salamander (Phaeognathus hubrichti) by combining genetic, transect, and body-condition data. We found that populations where habitat buffers have been employed have higher genetic diversity and higher population densities, and individuals have better overall body condition. These results indicate that buffering the habitat of imperiled species can be an effective management tool for terrestrial salamanders. Additionally, they provide further evidence that leaving the habitat of imperiled salamanders unbuffered can have both immediate and long-term negative impacts on populations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Predicted Changes in Climatic Niche and Climate Refugia of Conservation Priority Salamander Species in the Northeastern United States
Forests 2015, 6(1), 1-26; doi:10.3390/f6010001
Received: 11 October 2014 / Accepted: 11 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1941 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global climate change represents one of the most extensive and pervasive threats to wildlife populations. Amphibians, specifically salamanders, are particularly susceptible to the effects of changing climates due to their restrictive physiological requirements and low vagility; however, little is known about which [...] Read more.
Global climate change represents one of the most extensive and pervasive threats to wildlife populations. Amphibians, specifically salamanders, are particularly susceptible to the effects of changing climates due to their restrictive physiological requirements and low vagility; however, little is known about which landscapes and species are vulnerable to climate change. Our study objectives included, (1) evaluating species-specific predictions (based on 2050 climate projections) and vulnerabilities to climate change and (2) using collective species responses to identify areas of climate refugia for conservation priority salamanders in the northeastern United States. All evaluated salamander species were projected to lose a portion of their climatic niche. Averaged projected losses ranged from 3%–100% for individual species, with the Cow Knob Salamander (Plethodon punctatus), Cheat Mountain Salamander (Plethodon nettingi), Shenandoah Mountain Salamander (Plethodon virginia), Mabee’s Salamander (Ambystoma mabeei), and Streamside Salamander (Ambystoma barbouri) predicted to lose at least 97% of their landscape-scale climatic niche. The Western Allegheny Plateau was predicted to lose the greatest salamander climate refugia richness (i.e., number of species with a climatically-suitable niche in a landscape patch), whereas the Central Appalachians provided refugia for the greatest number of species during current and projected climate scenarios. Our results can be used to identify species and landscapes that are likely to be further affected by climate change and potentially resilient habitats that will provide consistent climatic conditions in the face of environmental change. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Importance of Maintaining Upland Forest Habitat Surrounding Salamander Breeding Ponds: Case Study of the Eastern Tiger Salamander in New York, USA
Forests 2014, 5(12), 3070-3086; doi:10.3390/f5123070
Received: 6 October 2014 / Revised: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 2 December 2014 / Published: 9 December 2014
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Abstract
Most amphibians use both wetland and upland habitats, but the extent of their movement in forested habitats is poorly known. We used radiotelemetry to observe the movements of adult and juvenile eastern tiger salamanders over a 4-year period. Females tended to move [...] Read more.
Most amphibians use both wetland and upland habitats, but the extent of their movement in forested habitats is poorly known. We used radiotelemetry to observe the movements of adult and juvenile eastern tiger salamanders over a 4-year period. Females tended to move farther from the breeding ponds into upland forested habitat than males, while the distance a juvenile moved appeared to be related to body size, with the largest individuals moving as far as the adult females. Individuals chose refugia in native pitch pine—oak forested habitat and avoided open fields, roads, and developed areas. We also observed a difference in potential predation pressures in relation to the distance an individual moved from the edge of the pond. Our results support delineating forested wetland buffer zones on a case-by-case basis to reduce the impacts of concentrated predation, to increase and protect the availability of pitch pine—oak forests near the breeding pond, and to focus primarily on the habitat needs of the adult females and larger juveniles, which in turn will encompass habitat needs of adult males and smaller juveniles. Full article
Open AccessArticle Near-Term Effects of Repeated-Thinning with Riparian Buffers on Headwater Stream Vertebrates and Habitats in Oregon, USA
Forests 2014, 5(11), 2703-2729; doi:10.3390/f5112703
Received: 7 October 2014 / Revised: 30 October 2014 / Accepted: 31 October 2014 / Published: 17 November 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4552 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We examined the effects of a second-thinning harvest with alternative riparian buffer management approaches on headwater stream habitats and associated vertebrates in western Oregon, USA. Our analyses showed that stream reaches were generally distinguished primarily by average width and depth, along with [...] Read more.
We examined the effects of a second-thinning harvest with alternative riparian buffer management approaches on headwater stream habitats and associated vertebrates in western Oregon, USA. Our analyses showed that stream reaches were generally distinguished primarily by average width and depth, along with the percentage of the dry reach length, and secondarily, by the volume of down wood. In the first year post-harvest, we observed no effects of buffer treatment on stream habitat attributes after moderate levels of thinning. One of two “thin-through” riparian treatments showed stronger trends for enlarged stream channels, likely due to harvest disturbances. The effects of buffer treatments on salamanders varied among species and with habitat structure. Densities of Plethodon dunni and Rhyacotriton species increased post-harvest in the moderate-density thinning with no-entry buffers in wider streams with more pools and narrower streams with more down wood, respectively. However, Rhyacotriton densities decreased along streams with the narrowest buffer, 6 m, and P. dunni and Dicamptodon tenebrosus densities decreased in thin-through buffers. Our study supports the use of a 15-m or wider buffer to retain sensitive headwater stream amphibians. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Slow Lives in the Fast Landscape: Conservation and Management of Plethodontid Salamanders in Production Forests of the United States
Forests 2014, 5(11), 2750-2772; doi:10.3390/f5112750
Received: 29 September 2014 / Revised: 4 November 2014 / Accepted: 5 November 2014 / Published: 17 November 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (608 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction
Abstract
Intensively-managed forest (IMF) ecosystems support environmental processes, retain biodiversity and reduce pressure to extract wood products from other forests, but may affect species, such as plethodontid salamanders, that are associated with closed canopies and possess limited vagility. We describe: (1) critical aspects [...] Read more.
Intensively-managed forest (IMF) ecosystems support environmental processes, retain biodiversity and reduce pressure to extract wood products from other forests, but may affect species, such as plethodontid salamanders, that are associated with closed canopies and possess limited vagility. We describe: (1) critical aspects of IMF ecosystems; (2) effectiveness of plethodontid salamanders as barometers of forest change; (3) two case studies of relationships between salamanders and coarse woody debris (CWD); and (4) research needs for effective management of salamanders in IMF ecosystems. Although plethodontid salamanders are sensitive to microclimate changes, their role as ecological indicators rarely have been evaluated quantitatively. Our case studies of CWD and salamanders in western and eastern forests demonstrated effects of species, region and spatial scale on the existence and strength of relationships between plethodontid species and a “critical” microhabitat variable. Oregon slender salamanders (Batrachoseps wrighti) were more strongly associated with abundance of CWD in managed second growth forests than ensatina salamanders (Ensatina eschscholtzii). Similarly, CWD was not an important predictor of abundance of Appalachian salamanders in managed hardwood forest. Gaining knowledge of salamanders in IMF ecosystems is critical to reconciling ecological and economic objectives of intensive forest management, but faces challenges in design and implementation. Full article
Open AccessReview Environmental and Anthropogenic Factors Influencing Salamanders in Riparian Forests: A Review
Forests 2014, 5(11), 2679-2702; doi:10.3390/f5112679
Received: 7 October 2014 / Revised: 6 November 2014 / Accepted: 6 November 2014 / Published: 13 November 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (324 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Salamanders and riparian forests are intimately interconnected. Salamanders are integral to ecosystem functions, contributing to vertebrate biomass and complex food webs in riparian forests. In turn, these forests are critical ecosystems that perform many environmental services, facilitate high biodiversity and species richness, [...] Read more.
Salamanders and riparian forests are intimately interconnected. Salamanders are integral to ecosystem functions, contributing to vertebrate biomass and complex food webs in riparian forests. In turn, these forests are critical ecosystems that perform many environmental services, facilitate high biodiversity and species richness, and provide habitat to salamander populations. Due to the global decline of amphibians, it is important to understand, as thoroughly and holistically as possible, the roles of environmental parameters and the impact of human activities on salamander abundance and diversity in riparian forests. To determine the population responses of salamanders to a variety of environmental factors and anthropogenic activities, we conducted a review of published literature that compared salamander abundance and diversity, and then summarized and synthesized the data into general patterns. We identify stream quality, leaf litter and woody debris, riparian buffer width, and soil characteristics as major environmental factors influencing salamander populations in riparian forests, describe and explain salamander responses to those factors, and discuss the effects of anthropogenic activities such as timber harvest, prescribed fires, urbanization, road construction, and habitat fragmentation. This review can assist land and natural resource managers in anticipating the consequences of human activities and preparing strategic conservation plans. Full article

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