Pond-breeding salamanders spend most of their lives in forested habitat surrounding the vernal pools where they breed. Timber harvesting has been demonstrated to have negative impacts on salamander populations due to changes in soil temperature, soil compaction, and general degradation of habitat. However, little is known about how long it takes for harvested forest habitat to once again become suitable for salamanders. Questions also remain as to whether salamanders will use an area that has been harvested in recent years if an older intact forest area is available. We used drift fences and pitfall traps to capture adult spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) and marbled salamanders (A. opacum) migrating to 3 vernal ponds during their breeding seasons. The study area contained tracts of forest that were clear-cut 11–12 years prior to the study. All 3 ponds were surrounded by areas of clear-cut and intact forest and drift fences were placed in both habitat types. Similar numbers of spotted salamanders entered the ponds from clear-cut and intact forest areas. The number of marbled salamanders migrating to the ponds did not differ between areas of clear-cut and intact forest. These results suggest that clear-cut habitats may become suitable for adult pond-breeding salamanders after a relatively short regeneration period.
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Vol. 71 • No. 4