Date of Completion

Spring 5-5-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Tracy Rittenhouse

Honors Major

Natural Resources


Constructing heterogeneous habitats that hold a diverse array of species in space is a common strategy of wildlife conservation and management to improve the biodiversity of an area. The habitat heterogeneity hypothesis proposes that diverse habitats promote an increase in species diversity. A lack of beaver activity and timber harvesting in southern New England has led to the structural homogenization of the tree canopy in forested wetlands, resulting in wetlands that now contain later successional and larger trees. We used cameras to monitor the diel activity patterns of mammals across three wetland study sites to observe how community composition changes between felled (the removal of large trees from an area) and control wetlands. We found few changes in mammal composition between treatments, with the exception of the Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), which was detected only in control wetlands. Diel activity patterns changed most notably in the browser species, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and cottontails (Sylvilagus spp), for which we found an increase in nightly activity in harvested wetland sites.