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Management techniques used to control vegetation along a new 8.5 km- (5.3 mile) long powerline right-of-way located at Patuxent Research Refuge are being evaluated to identify changes in habitat that affect wildlife. Techniques include: complete mow, strip mow, low volume foliar spray, selective basal spray, and tree topping. One hundred and one bird species were recorded during line transect sampling along the right-of-way. The eastern towhee had the highest frequency of occurrence followed by the field sparrow and the common yellowthroat. The field sparrow had the highest numbers per visit followed by the eastern towhee and eastern bluebird. Fifteen species were recorded in numbers greater than ten individuals per visit in at least one season of the year. Nine species of mammals were trapped in live traps during the study and four other mammal species were observed but not captured. Twelve species of amphibians and six species of reptiles were trapped in pitfall or funnel traps. Differences in the distribution of species seemed to be related to the physical and hydrological features of the right-of-way. Although no major differences in the distribution of wildlife species resulted from the vegetation management, differences are expected in the future as vegetation differences become more pronounced. Data from this study will be of value to resource managers attempting to provide optimal habitat for biodiversity.
Additional Publication Details
Optimal management strategies for biodiversity within a powerline right-of-way