Vol. 30, No. 12 - December 14, 2018

Supreme Court decision reached on ESA critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog

On Tuesday, November 27, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which involved the designation of an unoccupied timberland area as critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Court in a unanimous, 8-0 decision held that: (1) only “habitat” of the species is eligible for designation as critical habitat; and (2) decisions not to exclude areas from critical habitat are judicially reviewable. In reaching these determinations, the Court ruled in favor of Weyerhaeuser and the individual landowners which had brought the cert petition.

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Dr Angela Larsen to join NCASI

After an extensive nationwide search, NCASI has selected Dr. Angela Larsen to join its staff as a Forest Wildlife Ecologist, starting in mid-January 2019. Dr. Larsen has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a M.S. in Biology from Grand Valley State University, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Science from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro.

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NCASI submits comments to the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission

Recently, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) requested: (1) public review and comment of draft species conservation plans for aquatic species listed on the agency’s website and (2) comments on a draft conservation plan for the gopher frog (Rana capito). NCASI staff drafted and submitted comments to NCWRC addressing these conservation plans.

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Research documents role of herbicides and herbivory on young plant communities

Herbicides are an important tool for forest managers, including for establishment of new stands. A number of studies have examined response of plant and wildlife communities in young forests to herbicide use. In the Pacific Northwest, it has been assumed that elk and deer foraging is a result of herbicide applications alone; however, no previous studies were able to clearly establish if this is the case or, alternatively, if herbicide use and herbivory by deer and elk work together to affect plant community structure in regeneration Douglas-fir stands. Recently, researchers with NCASI, Oregon State University, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted a study to examine this relationship between herbivory and herbicide applications on plant communities in young Douglas-fir stands.

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Study finds managed forests provide roosting opportunities for Indiana bats

Many cave-hibernating bat species in the eastern U.S. have experienced significant mortality in recent years due to the fungal disease, white-nose syndrome. Therefore, because these species also use forests, there is significant interest in understanding their habitat relationships in managed forest landscapes. Recently, scientists with Indiana State University and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources conducted a study to assess summer roost-site selection by federally endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) in a managed midwestern forest. Results from the study appear in a paper in Forest Ecology and Management authored by Scott M. Bergesona (ISU), Joy M. O'Keefe (ISU), and G. Scott Haulton (Indiana DNR).

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