Habitat use by wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) in a changeable arable landscape

  • Published source details Tattersall F.H., Macdonald D.W., Hart B.J., Manley W.J. & Feber R.E. (2001) Habitat use by wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) in a changeable arable landscape. Journal of Zoology, 255, 487-494.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide or retain set-aside areas on farmland

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Provide or retain set-aside areas on farmland

    A before-and-after study in 1996–1997 on an arable farm in Wiltshire, UK (Tattersall et al. 2001) found that use of uncut set-aside areas by wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus increased after crop harvesting. After crop harvesting, uncut set-aside was used more than expected by chance, as were hedgerows. Cut set-aside was used less than expected by chance (results shown as preference indices). Use of cropped areas declined to an average 13% of wood mouse ranges after harvesting, from 54% before harvesting. Across two arable fields, a 3-ha block of set-aside and 3 km of 20-m-wide set-aside field margins were sown (grass/clover mix) in October 1995. In August 1996 and 1997, twenty-four alternate 50 × 6-m patches of cut and uncut set-aside were created alongside a hedge. The remaining 14-m width of set-aside was cut. Thirty-four wood mice were radio-tracked over ≥3 nights in June–July and September–November of 1996 and 1997.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

  2. Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

    As part of the same study of wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus on an arable farm in England as that described in Tattersall et al. 1997, (Tattersall et al. 2001) found that after harvest, mice preferred hedgerow to set-aside.  Before harvest, wood mice tended to use habitats (crop, margin set-aside, block set-aside and hedgerow) at random.  After harvest, set-aside was avoided. Margin and cut set-aside were avoided significantly more than block and uncut set-aside.  A three ha block of set-aside adjoining a 20 m wide set-aside field margin was sown (grass/clover mix) in 1995 between two arable fields.  Twenty-four alternate 50 x 6 m wide patches of cut and uncut set-aside were created either side of the central hedgerow. The remaining 14 m width of the margin was cut as normal.  Thirty four wood mice were radio-tracked continuously for at least three nights (June-July and September-November 1996-1997).

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