Appendix b – hibernacula: forest habitat analysis 98 appendix c – literature cited 101




НазваниеAppendix b – hibernacula: forest habitat analysis 98 appendix c – literature cited 101
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Factors affecting the species environment within the action area



Since approval of the 1992 Amended Land and Resources Management Plan, a limited amount of forest management activities has occurred on the SNF. These are listed in Table. 24. This data indicate that active Forest management in the past 13 years has not had a significant impact of Indiana bat habitat in the action area.


Each year, part of the Forest is affected by strong winds, tornados and other natural disturbances. These events leave small to very large areas of dead, down or severely damaged trees and some small amounts of early successional, hardwood forest. These are generally left to naturally decay. Snags, or standing trees are retained for wildlife purposes except where they pose a hazard to public safety.


Permits are issued for collection of miscellaneous forest products, including predominantly firewood and fence posts. In the last five years, 218 firewood permits were issued, totaling about 872 cords of firewood. All firewood taken from the SNF is downed material. In addition, some permits are given to private landowners to remove dead or leaning trees which are likely to fall on their fences. Given the very small impact area, it is unlikely these activities have significantly impact Indiana bat habitat across the Forest.


Table 24. Management activities that have occurred on the Forest from 1992-2002 (from USFS 2005).

MANAGEMENT ACTIVITY

ACRES/MILES AFFECTED

Timber Harvest

--Hardwood Selection Harvest

--Pine Shelterwood Harvest

--Pine Thinning

--Pine/Hardwood Release


234 acres

11 acres

434 acres

266 acres

Prescribed Fire

10,900 acres

Wildlife Habitat Improvement

(Opening and Openland)

2,450 acres

Wildlife Habitat Improvement

(Wetland Management)

3,900 acres

Timber Stand Improvement

1,350 acres

Soil and Water Improvement

1,150 acres

Special Uses Issued

1,535 (permits)

Road Construction

0

Road Reconstruction

24 miles

Road Obliteration

20 miles


Non-public lands make up about 65 percent of the land base within the Forest boundary. Land use activities on these lands are determined by the owner. Some land use practices on these properties have benefited Indiana bats, some have had no effect and some have been detrimental.


Firewood cutting and private logging on private land are common practices in southern Illinois. It occurs throughout the year and therefore, it is possible that unknown occupied roost trees are cut. In most instances Indiana bats may escape, but it is likely that a number of Indiana bats, especially non-volant young, are injured or killed. It is impossible to calculate the numbers of Indiana bats that may be impacted by these activities. However, these activities also create canopy gaps and edge effects that likely improved foraging habitat and microclimate conditions in roost trees. This may have had positive benefits for Indiana bats.


Non-energy mineral extraction and coal mining occurs in southern Illinois. These mineral are often extracted via surface mines, resulting in impacts to forested habitats. These activities are permitted by the IDNR, therefore, it is expected that impacts to Indiana bats are minimized to some extent. For example, coal mining permits require that trees be cleared outside the Indiana bat active season. Over the long-term reclamation activities may replace some of the impacted forest. However, this is not assured as often the land is reclaimed back to pasture or agricultural land.


Pesticides are applied to agricultural lands in southern Illinois to control insect infestations. Chemicals may end up in waterways if precautions are not taken and could effect insect populations. In addition, some of these chemicals are persistent and may bioaccumulate in the environment. Therefore, pesticide use may have some significant detrimental impacts on Indiana bats. However, the scope of this impact is unknown.


Summary


Within the action area, three “events” have played a very significant role in the increased numbers of Indiana bats in the area. The first event was the construction of a stabilization structure at the main entrance to Magazine Mine in 2001. According to Kath (2002), “the rapid rate of colonization of the Magazine Mine by Indiana bats may be due to the near-optimal ambient temperatures that occur in this underground complex. Imminent collapse of an entrance to the Magazine Mine resulted in a cooperative effort among industry, government, and nonprofit organizations that resulted in long-term stabilization of the passage.” Without this stabilization structure it is likely the mine entrance would have collapsed to such a degree that it would no longer be usable by Indiana bats.


The second and third events are the large scale flooding of the Mississippi River and Big Muddy River in 1993 and 1995. The prolonged flooding resulted in significant amounts of tree mortality, especially in Oakwood Bottoms. This resulted in possibly near optimal conditions for an Indiana bat maternity colony. It is suspected that a small colony that previously utilized riparian habitat in Cedar Creek expanded and began to utilize the habitat created by the floods.

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