Negative effects of habitat edge have been advanced as an important proximate cause of extinction, and a growing literature calls attention to the matrix surrounding habitat remnants as a critical factor determining population persistence. I examined spatial distribution of California red‐backed voles (Clethrionomys californicus) on 13 forest remnants and five control sites in southwestern Oregon. The species was virtually isolated on remnants, making little use of the regenerating clearcuts surrounding the remnants. The effects of the clearcut also impinged on the remnants as edge effects: six times more voles were captured per trap in the interior of remnants than on the edge. Consequently, the density of voles per unit area on remnants increased with remnant size, despite the potential buildup of population density in small isolates due to limited emigration. I explored potential mechanisms of the negative edge effect on voles and found that the biomass of coarse woody debris, per se, did not explain the vole distribution because both number and volume of logs increased from the interior to the edge of remnants. However, the distribution of the vole's primary food item, hypogeous sporocarps of mycorrhizal fungi, did correspond to the vole edge effect
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 1995
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