|HOME SCHEDULE AUTHOR INDEX SUBJECT INDEX|
Change in relative abundance of small mammal species through 50 years of forest restoration.
Peck, Amanda*,1, Allen, Craig1, 1 South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Clemson, SC, USA
ABSTRACT- Vegetation change through succession can impact the small mammal community composition of an area. The Savannah River Site (SRS) has been an important geographic area for the study of biodiversity and the effects of human-induced landscape manipulation since its acquisition in 1951. We examined how small mammal species composition has changed in habitat types, after acquisition (1951) to current maturing forest (2002). Specifically, we examined if small mammal abundance differed among the periods 1950s, 1960s and 1990s. Next, we determined if the variance in abundance differed among those same periods. Lastly, we determined if abundance of any particular species changed more than expected based on change in habitat area. Small mammals were more abundant in the 1960s than in the 1950s or 1990s (p=0.07). The most abundant species in the 1950s and 1960s were associated with old-fields (Peromyscus polionotus and Sigmodon hispidus), a habitat that declined from 20% to 0.07% of the SRS over the past 50 years. The 1990s were dominated by the forest associated species Peromyscus gossypinus, Cryptotis parva and Neotoma floridana. The only two species captured within the forested habitats during all time periods were Peromyscus gossypinus and Ochrotomys nuttali. Variance in small mammal abundance differed among time periods and was highest in the 1960s (p=0.06). Relative abundance, in terms of occurrence in particular habitats relative to total abundance, of cotton mice increased in all forested habitats except upland hardwoods, where they decreased in relative abundance by 23%. Relative abundance of golden mice only increased in the planted pine habitat (by 45%) and decreased in the upland and lowland hardwood habitats (by 21 and 13%, respectively). Despite an increase in abundance and variance in abundance in the decade following acquisition, in the 1990s small mammal communities had changed little as compared to 40 years earlier.
Key words: savannah river site, succession, relative abundance, small mammal