Allegheny woodrats (Neotoma magister) are considered a "species of concern" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They are on more state endangered and threatened species lists than any other rodent species in the United States. Woodrats are important to the nutrient-poor cave ecosystem because they bring organic material into the caves which supports a specialized cave invertebrate community. Allegheny woodrats are also considered good indicators of the condition of a park's surface and cave ecosystems because they respond to changes in resource conditions.
The goal of monitoring the Allegheny Woodrat is to not only establish their current status in both managed and unmanaged caves, but to determine long-term trends in their population. Knowing the differences between populations in managed caves and unmanaged caves will help park management understand how park activities affect this species.
For More Information
Contact Steve Thomas, Monitoring Program Leader for the Cumberland Piedmont Network, at (270) 758-2160 or via email.