EMEND: Forestry and Amphibians
Effects of variable retention timber harvesting on amphibian populations in Northwest Alberta
EMEND, Northwest Alberta
Graduate Student
M.Sc. (Conservation Biology) (Fall 2014-2017)
Supervisor
Associate Professor & Alberta Biodiversity Conservation Chair
Status: Active, Study started in 2014, currently publication stage

Matt is studying the effects of variable retention timber harvesting on amphibian populations in Northwest Alberta. This work is being conducted at the EMEND (Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbance) research forest near Peace River, Alberta. Variable retention involves leaving standing live trees during harvest operations to mimic the spatial patterns that exist following natural disturbances in the boreal forest. It is part of a recently conceived forest management strategy called Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM), which balances forest resource extraction with preservation of some level of forest structure to maintain biodiversity, ecosystem function, and wildlife habitat within managed forests. Three amphibian species - Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus), Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata) and Boreal Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) - are native to the boreal forest of Northwest Alberta, and require both aquatic and terrestrial habitat features to allow completion of their life cycles. This work will examine the effectiveness of variable retention harvesting in maintaining key amphibian habitat features and allowing the persistence of these populations within managed landscapes of the boreal forest.