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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Provide supplementary food after fire Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

  • One study evaluated the effects on mammals of providing supplementary food after fire. This study was in the USA.



  • Survival (1 study): A replicated, randomized, controlled study in the USA found that supplementary feeding did not increase survival of hispid cotton rats following prescribed fire.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2005–2009 of woodland in Georgia, USA (Morris et al. 2011) found that supplementary feeding did not increase survival rates of hispid cotton rats Sigmodon hispidus following prescribed fire. Survival rates over a 13-week post-fire period during which supplementary food was offered (0.02–0.04) were similar to those with no supplementary food offered (0.02–0.04). Eight plots (40 ha each) were studied. Four plots (exclosures) were surrounded by electric fencing to deter predator entry. All plots were burned in February of 2005, 2007, and 2009. From June 2007 to August 2009, two exclosures and two non-fenced plots received supplementary feed of rabbit chow. No food was provided at the other four plots. Pairs of grids were live-trapped four times/year from January 2005 to June 2007 and eight times/year from July 2007 to June 2009.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K., Martin, P.A., Lockhart, S.L., Schoonover, R.F., Wilman, E., Bladon, A.J., Sainsbury, K.A., Pimm S. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.