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Influences of large herbivores on small rodents in the New Forest, Hampshire

Influences of large herbivores on small rodents in the New Forest, Hampshire
Influences of large herbivores on small rodents in the New Forest, Hampshire

The distribution and ecology of small rodents within grazed New Forest habitats was compared to similar areas outside the New Forest. Intensive live trapping was carried out for two and a half years (January 1982 to June 1984) in four New Forest deciduous woodlands, grazed by ponies deer and cattle, and two woodlands outside the New Forest, grazed only by deer. For one and a half years (January 1983 to June 1984) trapping was performed in two 5 ha enclosed New Forest woodlands, one grazed by deer the other f^ee from grazing for 22 years. Less intensive trapping was carried out in four grazed New Forest Calluna heathlands, and two heathlands outside the New Forest, grazed only by deer, and on two acid-grassland areas within the New Forest. Rodent diversity and abundance was greater in the woodlands and heathlands outside the New Forest. Within the intensively grazed woodlands this is due to the absence of bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), which can be attributed to habitat modification demonstrably caused by large herbivores. Small rodents were almost totally absent from New Forest heathlands, but this is due more to management practices than to grazing. Woodland wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) populations were low in all sites throughout the study, probably because mast crops were poor. Demographic comparison of wood mouse populations revealed no differences between grazed and ungrazed sites, and were similar to those reported elsewhere. The diet of tawny owls (Strix aluco) in the New Forest was studied by pellet analysis. This revealed that they prey more heavily on wood mice than elsewhere, but it is not clear if this is due to the absence of bank voles and other prey, or increased wood mouse availability due to modification of woodland habitats by large herbivores.

University of Southampton
Hill, Stephen Donald
Hill, Stephen Donald

Hill, Stephen Donald (1985) Influences of large herbivores on small rodents in the New Forest, Hampshire. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The distribution and ecology of small rodents within grazed New Forest habitats was compared to similar areas outside the New Forest. Intensive live trapping was carried out for two and a half years (January 1982 to June 1984) in four New Forest deciduous woodlands, grazed by ponies deer and cattle, and two woodlands outside the New Forest, grazed only by deer. For one and a half years (January 1983 to June 1984) trapping was performed in two 5 ha enclosed New Forest woodlands, one grazed by deer the other f^ee from grazing for 22 years. Less intensive trapping was carried out in four grazed New Forest Calluna heathlands, and two heathlands outside the New Forest, grazed only by deer, and on two acid-grassland areas within the New Forest. Rodent diversity and abundance was greater in the woodlands and heathlands outside the New Forest. Within the intensively grazed woodlands this is due to the absence of bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), which can be attributed to habitat modification demonstrably caused by large herbivores. Small rodents were almost totally absent from New Forest heathlands, but this is due more to management practices than to grazing. Woodland wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) populations were low in all sites throughout the study, probably because mast crops were poor. Demographic comparison of wood mouse populations revealed no differences between grazed and ungrazed sites, and were similar to those reported elsewhere. The diet of tawny owls (Strix aluco) in the New Forest was studied by pellet analysis. This revealed that they prey more heavily on wood mice than elsewhere, but it is not clear if this is due to the absence of bank voles and other prey, or increased wood mouse availability due to modification of woodland habitats by large herbivores.

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Published date: 1985

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 461447
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/461447
PURE UUID: 41b781ea-71e8-45bd-b324-cd05bed0dc2f

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Date deposited: 04 Jul 2022 18:47
Last modified: 04 Jul 2022 20:10

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Author: Stephen Donald Hill

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