Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
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June, 16, 1998
The Effects of Forestry on the Jefferson Salamander
The Jefferson Salamander to probably the least common of Ontarios' native salamanders. It is confined to southern Ontario and within this area its range in quite restricted. Many of the sites where it has been found are in small remnant woodlots. In these small woodlots the Jefferson Salamander to very sensitive to habitat disturbance. In any management plan for a woodlot, the Jefferson Salamander should be given a high priority because of its scarcity within the province. Additionally, it is a fantastic species that deserves protection wherever it is found.
The effects of forestry on Jefferson Salamander populations can be quite devastating. If the canopy is opened up too much, the forest floor is allowed to become quite desiccated and this destroys non-breeding habitat for this species. More devastating is cutting adjacent to the swamps where this species breeds. Cutting here facilitates the drying of the swamps much earlier in the year, such that successful reproduction is seriously impaired or halted. This will eliminate the species from the woodlot. In small isolated woodlots cutting should be avoided as animal populations within are already vulnerable due to the lack of immigration from other populations.
Steps can also be taken to improve the habitat for this species. Small ponds can be dug in appropriate places within the woodlots to increase breeding habitat. Additionally, existing spring swamps that dry out very early in the season and are thus unsuitable for breeding, can be deepened to provide a more permanent swamp. With proper, thoughtful management, the Jefferson Salamander can be maintained within small woodlots.
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