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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of an ongoing oak savanna restoration on small mammals in Lower Michigan

Published source details

Larsen A.L., Jacquot J.J., Keenlance P.W. & Keough H.L. (2016) Effects of an ongoing oak savanna restoration on small mammals in Lower Michigan. Forest Ecology and Management, 367, 120-127

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Restore or create savannas Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, randomized, paired sites, controlled study in 2008–2013 in five areas in a former oak savanna in Michigan, USA (Larsen et al. 2016) found that restoring savannas by removing trees resulted in no change in small mammal abundance in 18 of 21 comparisons, but that small mammal diversity increased. After five years, in 18 of 21 comparisons small mammal abundance did not differ between areas where trees were removed (0.0–4.2 animals/area) and areas where trees were retained (0.0–0.6 animals/area). However, in three of 21 comparisons there were more small mammals (trees removed: 1.8–4.6 animals/area; trees retained: 0.0–1.8 animals/area). Small mammal diversity increased where trees were removed, but it declined where trees were retained (data reported as model results). In June–July 2008, five 3.2-ha blocks, each comprising four 0.8-ha plots, were designated. In each block, trees were removed from three plots and retained in one plot. In July 2010 the entire area was burnt in a prescribed burn. Once a year, in October 2008–July 2013, nine live traps baited with sunflower seeds were placed in each plot. Traps were set at 17:00–20:00 and checked at 6:00–11:00. Captured animals were individually marked to enable identification of re-captures.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)