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The Effect of Riparian Zones in Structuring Small Mammal Communities in the Southern AppalachiansAuthor(s): Joshua Laerm; Michael A. Menzel; Dorothy J. Wolf; James R. Welch
Source: First Biennial North American Forest Ecology Workshop, June 24-26, 1997, North Carolina St. Univ., Raleigh, NC
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionRiparian zones have been shown to be important in structuring vertebrate communities and in maintaining biodiversity. We examined the role of riparian zones in structuring small mammal communities in a southern Appalachian watershed at Coweeta Hydrological Laboratory, Macon County, North Carolina. We established pitfall and live-trap grids in three replicates each of seeps, first-order, second-order, and third-order stream riparian zones. We established upland non-riparian controls for each replicate at a distance greater than 100 m from the respective riparian zones. These sites, were distributed over northern hardwood, cove hardwood, moderate oak, and xeric-oak-pine cover types along an elevational gradient from 678 to 1,592 m. We found no significant differences in the composition of small mammal communities, between riprian and non-riparian zones at these sites. Patterns of species richness, diversity, and evenness for both pitfall surveys and live trapping estimators were similar for riparian and non-riparian areas. Within-stream order comparisons yielded similar results; no differences were found between riparian and non-riparian sites for seeps, second-order, or third-order streams. The only exception was in first-order stream comparisons where Blarina brevicauda was found to be more abundtint in non-riparian sites. The lack of significant differences between riparian and non-riparian sites in small mammal parameters examined would appear to be associated with the general lack of structural and vegetative distinction between riparian and non-riparian zones in the southern Appalachians.
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CitationLaerm, Joshua; Menzel, Michael A.; Wolf, Dorothy J.; Welch, James R. 1997. The Effect of Riparian Zones in Structuring Small Mammal Communities in the Southern Appalachians. First Biennial North American Forest Ecology Workshop, June 24-26, 1997, North Carolina St. Univ., Raleigh, NC
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