Despite its importance for wildlife, most forests in the Pacific Northwest contain low volumes of large downed wood compared to fine woody debris (FWD). We used a replicated experiment to compare short-term responses of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and western red-backed voles (Clethrionomys californicus) among 3 arrangements of FWD: piled, lopped and scattered, and pile burning, a commonly used method of fuel reduction in commercial Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forests in southwest Oregon, USA. We assessed habitat use, density, and survival of mice and voles during 2 consecutive summers (Jun–Aug 1999 and 2000). Both mice and voles used FWD cover disproportionately from its availability, and they differed in their responses to specific FWD arrangements. Mice used piled FWD (proportional use = 37.0%, 90% CI = 33.0–44.0) 43% more than expected (26.0). Number of mice captured (𝑥̄ = 1.9 mice, 90% CI = 1.5–2.5) and index of home range size (𝑥̄ = 4.8 m, 90% CI = 0.7–8.9) at individual FWD piles decreased up to 16% and increased up to 50%, respectively, for each 1-m increase in distance from piles. Voles used all FWD cover classes in proportion to availability, but number of voles captured increased slightly (𝑥̄ = 0.016 voles/m, 90% CI = 0.001–0.031) for each 1-m increase in distance from piles. Piled FWD had no discernable effect on population density and apparent survival of mice, but analyses had low power (0.25, 0.67). Our results suggest that piling FWD would benefit deer mice, whereas lopped and scattered FWD might benefit voles. Thus, a combination of methods to reduce fire risk should be considered to accommodate multiple small mammal species.
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Vol. 72 • No. 3