Effects of Clear-Cutting on Litter Parameters in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains


Andrew N. Nash

Additional Authors:


June – 1995


Clear-Cutting, Blue Ridge Mountains, Litter, Plethodon

Effects of clear-cutting on litter dry mass, litter depth, and litter moisture were studied on two sites near Highlands, North Carolina, in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains from 1985-87 in order to better understand changes in litter parameters and to help explain disappearances of terrestrial salamanders of the genus Plethodon from clear-cuts. Litter dry mass and litter depth decreased significantly after clear-cutting on both sites while litter moisture was reduced significantly at one site but not at the other. Since terrestrial salamanders depend on a moist environment for dermal respiration and on litter as their primary foraging area, reductions in litter mass, depth and moisture may contribute to salamander disappearance from clear-cuts after timber harvest.