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An Inventory of Seasonal Forest Ponds on the Quabbin Reservoir Watershed, Massachusetts

Robert T. Brooks, Janice Stone and Paul Lyons
Northeastern Naturalist
Vol. 5, No. 3 (1998), pp. 219-230
Published by: Eagle Hill Institute
DOI: 10.2307/3858622
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3858622
Page Count: 12
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An Inventory of Seasonal Forest Ponds on the Quabbin Reservoir Watershed, Massachusetts
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Abstract

Seasonal forest ponds are unique habitats, and are the principal breeding habitat for some amphibians and invertebrates. An inventory of these habitats on the Quabbin Reservoir (Swift River) watershed (48,500 ha) in central Massachusetts identified and mapped 430 ponds. Two-thirds of the ponds (n = 286) were less than 0.05 ha in surface area and only 14 percent of the ponds (n = 60) were larger than 0.1 ha. The ponds were significantly clustered in spatial distribution. The surface area and spatial distribution of ponds suggest that they may exhibit attributes of biological islands. Pond-breeding fauna with limited dispersal abilities may occur as metapopulations. The actual effects of pond surface area and the spatial distribution of ponds on pond fauna have not been adequately studied. The ponds now occur in a predominantly forested landscape, but from 1750 until early in the 20th century, the landscape was largely agricultural with scattered woodlots or fragmented forests. The effects of land-use change on the composition, relative density, and reproductive success of pond fauna are unknown. The inventory was conducted to provide information to develop studies to investigate the effects of pond size, location, and forest history on pond fauna.

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