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Individual study: Effects of prescribed fire, supplemental feeding, and mammalian predator exclusion on hispid cotton rat populations

Published source details

Morris G., Hostetler J.A., Conner L.M. & Oli M.K. (2011) Effects of prescribed fire, supplemental feeding, and mammalian predator exclusion on hispid cotton rat populations. Oecologia, 167, 1005-1016


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 after fire Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

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.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Use fencing to exclude predators or other problematic species Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2005–2009 in eight woodland sites in Georgia, USA (Morris et al. 2011) found that excluding predators did not increase survival, transition to reproductive states or abundance of hispid cotton rats Sigmodon hispidus. In non-fire periods, estimated 13-week survival in exclosures (0.16–0.39) were similar to that outside exclosures (0.16–0.38). The same pattern applied in fire periods (exclosures: 0.02–0.04; outside exclosures: 0.02–0.04). Rates of transition to reproductive states varied considerably with season and fire status but were not affected by predator exclusion (exclosure: 0.06–0.59; outside exclosure: 0.06–0.59). Averaged across all plots, predator exclusion did not change abundance (data not presented). Eight plots (40 ha each) were studied. Four were exclosures, with electric fencing to deter predator entry, and four were unfenced. All plots were burned in February 2005, 2007, and 2009. 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.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)