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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Habitat use of field voles (Microtus agrestis) in wide and narrow buffer zones

Published source details

Yletyinen S. & Norrdahl K. (2008) Habitat use of field voles (Microtus agrestis) in wide and narrow buffer zones. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 123, 194-200


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide supplementary food for birds or mammals Farmland Conservation

A replicated and controlled habitat selection study in four riparian field margins in the municipality of Jokioinen, south-western Finland (Yletyinen & Norrdahl 2008) found that supplementary food appeared to attract field voles Microtus agrestis in uncut plots in both wide buffer zones and narrow filter strips but not in mowed plots. Mowed food plots in wide buffer zones were avoided by voles. In mid-June 2005, one 210 m-long section in each margin was divided into fourteen 15 m-long experimental plots, half of which were mown to <20 cm. Food and/or cover was added to mowed/unmowed plots to create eight treatments. The remaining plots were interspersed between experimental plots. Trapping and radio-tracking field voles started two weeks after habitat manipulation.

 

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

A replicated and controlled habitat selection study in 2003-2005 in south-western Finland (Yletyinen & Norrdahl 2008) found that field voles Microtus agrestis in riparian field margins moved on average longer distances in narrow (?5 m) filter strips than in wide (>15 m) buffer zones. Home range sizes tended to be larger in narrow than in wide margins, although these differences were not significant. Field voles were most frequently found in control plots where vegetation was left uncut with no supplementary food or cover added, in both narrow and wide riparian field margins. Crop fields and all mown habitat types were used significantly less by field voles in wide buffer zones than in narrow filter strips. Overall, mown plots were used less than unmown plots. In wide buffer zones, voles used mown habitats proportionally significantly less than other available habitats, whereas in narrow filter strips there was no difference in use between mown and unmown plots. Supplementary food appeared to attract voles in unmown plots in both wide and narrow riparian field margins, but not in mown plots. Mown plots with supplementary food provided were avoided by voles in wide margins. Riparian field margin width did not affect the proportional use of crop fields and field margin habitats from late autumn to spring (summer use not tested). Field margins were created under an agri-environment scheme prior to the study. In mid-June 2005, one 210 m-long section in each of four riparian field margins was divided into fourteen 15 m-long experimental plots, half of which were mown to <20 cm. Food and/or cover was added to mown/unmown plots (total eight treatments). Trapping and radio-tracking field voles started two weeks after habitat manipulation. Radio-tracking for the seasonal habitat-use analysis was done in summer (June 2003), late autumn (December 2003), winter (January 2004) and spring (April-May 2005).