Shelterwood harvest is good for lizards, bad for salamanders

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A common forestry practice may be bad for salamanders, but good for lizards, according to a recent U.S. Forest Service study published in Forest Ecology and Management. The researchers compared three types of treatment for forests in the southern Appalachians: prescribed burning in winter, herbicide application to the midstory, and prescribed burning following “shelterwood harvest.” Shelterwood harvest is the removal of some trees to allow for regrowth. At first, reptiles and amphibians appeared unaffected by the treatments. But two to three years later, the researchers started catching fewer salamanders and more lizards at shelterwood sites. Shelterwood harvest is known to create valuable habitat for certain birds and pollinators as well as lizards. Read more in a news release from the Southern Research Station.