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    Author(s): Eric D. Forsman; James K. SwingleDamon B. Lesmeister; Chad A. Marks-Fife; Mark A. Linnell
    Date: 2019
    Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 451: 117258-.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (411.0 KB)


    In this article we respond to a recent paper in which Rosenberg (2019) suggested that red tree voles (Arborimus longicaudus) were just as common as western redbacked voles (Myodes californicus) and implied that federal management agencies should consider dispensing with field surveys of red tree voles in favor of an unspecified adaptive management approach. Our primary purpose in writing this response is not to debate how management agencies should manage red tree voles. Our objective is to demonstrate that Rosenberg’s (2019) attempt to compare the distribution and relative abundance of red tree voles and western red-backed voles was fundamentally flawed. The data that he used to compare the two species are not analogous because they are based on different metrics, biased samples, and different sampling techniques. Rosenberg (2019) also failed to include data from numerous studies that suggest that, compared to red tree voles, western red-backed voles are much more uniformly distributed in the coniferous forests of western Oregon. In addition to assessing the methodological flaws and inconsistencies in Rosenberg’s (2019) analysis, we review additional data that we think are useful for understanding differences in the distribution of tree voles and red-backed voles. We conclude that Rosenberg’s (2019) analysis served little purpose except to muddy the waters regarding the actual distribution and abundance of red tree voles.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Forsman, Eric D.; Swingle, James K.; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Marks-Fife, Chad A.; Linnell, Mark A. 2019. A tale of two voles: A response to Rosenberg 2019. Forest Ecology and Management. 451: 117258-.


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    Red tree vole, western red-backed vole, Northwest Forest Plan, survey and manage, density estimates.

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