Oregon Salamander Lives With Logging

Following a seven-year study of 88 timber tracts across Oregon’s western Cascade Range, researchers have concluded no “discernable difference” in populations and occupancy of a rare salamander on recently harvested stands compared to stands older than 50 years. The project, which ran from 2013-2019, was a collaboration of Oregon State University, Weyerhaeuser, Port Blakely Tree Farms, Bureau of Land Management and the Oregon Dept. of Forestry, and the findings were published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management.

Found only on the west slope of the Cascade Range, the Oregon slender salamander is considered “sensitive” by state wildlife officials, and other groups have petitioned for its listing under the Endangered Species Act. It lives primarily underground or burrowed into decaying woody material and is found on both older age class tracts and timber plantations. Researchers did note that a more commonly found salamander was negatively affected by timber harvest, and recommended that landowners leave more moisture-holding wood on the ground after logging to provide habitat for both species.

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