Gastropod diversity in the boreal mixedwood forest of northern Alberta - variation among forest types and response to partial harvesting

  • Author / Creator
    Abele, Suzanne E
  • Terrestrial gastropods are important decomposers, herbivores, and prey items in forest systems and constitute a poorly understood element of forest biodiversity in Canada. I studied gastropod assemblages in relation to forest cover type and in response to variable retention harvesting in the mixedwood boreal forest of northwestern Alberta. Gastropods were sampled using two methods: board traps and collection of litter samples. Gastropod assemblages were influenced by canopy composition, with most gastropods of the mixedwood showing a strong affinity for broadleaf dominated forests. Tree species mixture influenced gastropod distribution; basal tree area of either conifer or broadleaf trees was generally associated with gastropod distribution within a stand. Harvesting was clearly associated with increased abundance of many species 9 years post-harvest, however, abundance declined for other species. Harvesting with retention helps to maintain pre-harvest boreal gastropod assemblages and will likely conserve boreal gastropod assemblages if used as a tool for biodiversity management.

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  • Degree
    Master of Science
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.