Over a 12-year period (1992–2003), we examined the impact of prescribed burning and hardwood removal on a population of nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) located at Tall Timbers Research Station just north of Tallahassee, Florida. Although these armadillos are often found in close proximity to humans, there currently are no data on how they are affected by human impacts on the environment. Responses to annual burns between 1992–1997 indicated that in some years armadillos, particularly adults, avoided areas that had been burned, but effects were inconsistent and relatively weak. In contrast, hardwood removal during 1998–2000 coincided with a significant decline in population numbers that continued through 2003. However, interpretation of hardwood removal effects was complicated by the occurrence of a severe drought during the same time period. Comparisons between animals in logged and unlogged parts of the study area during the period of hardwood removal revealed few differences, suggesting drought was an important influence. However, because our population continued to decline after the drought ended, it seems likely that hardwood removal generated more persistent effects that were temporarily masked by the drought. We observed armadillos frequently in logged areas, probably because few other habitat choices were available. Armadillos weighed less during and after hardwood removal than prior to it. Although adult reproductive behavior appeared largely unaffected by logging, numbers of juveniles captured and recruited declined significantly with the onset of hardwood removal. There was no evidence that the disturbance from logging caused increases in distances moved by animals that remained in the study area. Our results may have broader implications for predicting how armadillo populations in Latin America will be affected by similar land management practices.
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