Peromyscus responses to alternative forest management strategies in the Missouri Ozarks

by

Robert A. Gitzen, Rochelle B. Renken, Debby K. Fantz, Randy G. Jensen, Alexander J. Wolf, Amy D. Bleisch, and Joshua J. Millspaugh

Assistant Professor (RAG), School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL36849; Unit Chief (RBR), Missouri Dept of Conservation, Conservation Headquarters, Jefferson City, MO 65109; Resource Staff Scientist (DKF), Missouri Dept of Conservation, Columbia, MO 65201; Resource Scientist (RGJ), Missouri Dept of Conservation, Forest Systems Field Station, Ellington, MO 63638; Resource Staff Scientist (AJW), Missouri Dept of Conservation, Forest Systems Field Station, Ellington, MO 63638; Research Assistant (ADB), Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211; Professor (JJM), Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Science, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211. RAG is corresponding author. To contact, call (334) 844-1051 or email rag0012@auburn.edu.

Abstract – The Missouri Forest Ecosystem Experiment Project (MOFEP) assesses ecological responses to even-aged, uneven-aged, and no-harvest forest management strategies in oak-hickory-pine forests of the Missouri Ozarks. Each of these 3 forest-management strategies is replicated 3 times, with Peromyscus abundance measured on two 7.6-ha trap grids per site on northeast slopes. We used multi-population hierarchical mark-recapture models to examine experimental effects on Peromyscus abundance during 1994-1995, 1998-2001, 2008-2010, and 2012-2014. Preliminary analysis through 2010 indicates both even-aged and uneven-aged management strategies increased Peromyscus abundance compared to controls in the first 5 years after harvests. In even-aged treatment sites, the positive treatment effect was localized near harvested stands 2-3 years after harvest. However, by years 4-5 after harvest, this treatment effect was a site-wide, not stand-level, effect. Effects of harvest treatments on abundance had partly dissipated 13-14 years after harvest and we are currently assessing effects 16-18 years after harvest. Our preliminary results likely reflect the rapid re-establishment of tree and tall shrub cover in harvested areas within the first decade after harvest. Our results indicate complex spatial-temporal patterns of change in Peromyscus abundance during the first 14 years after a single harvest entry.