Conservation and coexistence of a federally listed species within a landscape highly modified for commodity production: gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) and intensive pine (Pinus spp.) management
Mississippi State University
Rush, Scott A.
Miller, Darren A.
Date of Degree
Graduate Thesis - Open Access
Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Master of Science
Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus; hereinafter, tortoise) is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the western portion of its range. Across the species’ range, approximately 70 % of potential habitat is privately owned, and these properties are often managed primarily for timber production. However, tortoise ecology on private, working forest landscapes remains poorly understood. To provide a better understanding of tortoise response to active forest management, I evaluated population demographics, movement ecology, and habitat selection of two tortoise populations: former Ben’s Creek Wildlife Management Area (BC) in Washington Parish, Louisiana and Perry County Gopher Tortoise Management Unit (PCGTMU) in Perry County, Mississippi. At BC, tortoises were generally clustered along utility rights-of- way and roadways. At PCGTMU, tortoises were clustered within forest stands with high quality soils. Low recruitment has been documented at BC for the last 25 years. However, PCGTMU appears to have a stable population with active recruitment.
Weyerhaeuser NR Company MSU Grant#: G00002901 Fund #: 335233
Duffie, Duston R, "Conservation and coexistence of a federally listed species within a landscape highly modified for commodity production: gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) and intensive pine (Pinus spp.) management" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 1157.