EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship


Effects of Forest Management on Amphibians and Reptiles in Missouri Ozark Forests

Author ORCID Identifier

Stephen RichterORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6646-2484


Biological Sciences

Document Type


Publication Date



As part of the Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project (MOFEP), we experimentally evaluated the impacts of forest management on the relative abundance of amphibians and reptiles in Missouri's Ozark forests (U.S.A.). Using large study sites (average size of 400 ha) as the experimental unit, we tested the effects of uneven-aged and even-aged forest management treatments compared with no-harvest management (i.e., control) on the relative abundance of 13 focal amphibian and reptile species. Within even-aged management sites, we also focused on the local-scale effects of clearcutting on these species by comparing relative abundance among plots located within clearcut stands, 50 m away from clearcut stands, and 200 m away from clearcut stands. Pretreatment sampling of species abundance occurred from 1992 through 1995, and post-treatment sampling occurred from 1997 through 2000. At the landscape scale, treatment significantly affected the abundance of Bufo americanus. This species declined less on even-aged management sites than on control sites, but the general decline on all sites suggests that other factors may have contributed to this result. Within even-aged management sites, most amphibian species declined and some reptile species increased relative to pretreatment abundances within clearcut stands. We found significant effects of distance from clearcut for two amphibian species, Ambystoma maculatum and Rana clamitans, and two reptile species, Scincella lateralis and Sceloporus undulatus. In general, we conclude that clearcuts within even-aged management sites locally affected amphibian and reptile species but, at a larger spatial scale, we did not detect significant effects of even-aged and uneven-aged forest management. These findings represent relatively short-term data but suggest that forest management and maintenance of biodiversity may be compatible when relatively small amounts of the landscape are disturbed.

Journal Title

Conservation Biology

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