Leave cut vegetation in field to provide cover
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Leaving cut vegetation in a field, either following cutting or by adding hay from elsewhere, may increase ground-level shelter available to small mammals.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A controlled, before-and-after study in 1983–1984 on a prairie grassland in Kansas, USA (Kotler et al. 1988) found that increasing cover, by adding cut vegetation (hay), did not increase rodent abundance. Rodent numbers were not significantly different after hay addition (19–28/census) compared to before hay addition (10–25/census). Rodent abundances in plots with no added hay likewise did not differ significantly over the same time periods (after: 14–45/census; before: 9–36/census). Three plots, 0.81 ha each, were established on brome grass Bromus inermns and prairie vegetation. One had 16 cm depth of hay added in January 1984. Two were left unmanaged. Small mammals were sampled using 100 Longworth live traps/plot. Trapping occurred over two nights, biweekly, from 12 weeks before hay addition (October 1983) until 26 weeks after hay addition (August 1984).Study and other actions tested