Riparian management and amphibians: does buffer width matter?




Hawkes, Virgil Clayton

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Riparian management in the Pacific Northwest has become an Increasingly common way to conserve biodiversity on landscapes managed for timber production. The efficacy of two different riparian buffer widths in providing habitat for terrestrial amphibians was assessed using a Before-After-Control-Impact approach. My findings suggest that there is no global response by terrestrial amphibians to logging or to the retention of riparian management zones in the US Pacific Northwest. Rather, species showed individual responses that varied over time and between treatments and transects. Overall, a minimum riparian buffer width of 30 m was sufficient to maintain the relative abundance and richness of terrestrial amphibians at levels commensurate with pre-harvest conditions. A co-inertia analysis revealed that habitat associations changed little over time and that there were no significant differences between buffered sites suggesting that the treatments applied were biologically insignificant. The benefits of retaining riparian forest are identified and discussed in the context of maintaining biodiversity and conserving terrestrial amphibians in western Washington.



amphibians, riparian ecology, Washington State