No effect of liming on the Eastern Red-backed Salamander after 5 years
Keywords:Amphibians, body condition, forest soil, Plethodon cinereus
Over the last decades, the application of calcitic materials to soil to restore the vigor of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum Marsh) trees has increased in northeastern North America. However, few studies have evaluated how this treatment affects other ecosystem components, especially over several years. In Sugar Maple stands, the Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus Green, 1818) is one of the most abundant vertebrates and an important terrestrial species for key ecological processes. Because the species commonly serves as an indicator of forest disturbances, it is important to know how anthropogenic disturbances, such as soil liming, might affect it. The goal of this study was to evaluate the medium-term (5-year) effects of liming on body condition in a wild population of P. cinereus in Quebec, Canada. Lime (CaCO3) was spread by helicopter on a declining Sugar Maple forest growing on an acidic and base-poor soil. The results of this study, combined with those of previous published works, show that liming has no short- or medium-term effects on the body condition of the Eastern Red-backed Salamander. This study adds to those on other species in Europe and northeastern North America that report that liming has no major effect on amphibians when it is used as a treatment to restore acidified forest ecosystems. This should help foresters decide whether or not liming treatments are compatible with conservation, ecological, and management objectives.
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