The original Picea rubens (Red Spruce) forest in West Virginia covered approximately 1.5 million acres, most of which was eliminated between 1870 and 1920 by clear-cutting and conflagrations. The total range of Plethodon nettingi (Cheat Mountain Salamander) was confined within this Red Spruce forest. Fires burned the duff and soil to the bedrock in many places, thus eliminating salamander habitats. It is hypothesized that Cheat Mountain Salamanders were eradicated throughout much of their range, and only areas with large emergent rocks or boulder fields provided refugia where they survived.
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