, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 391-400

Effects of habitat fragmentation on four rodent species in a Polish farm landscape

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Abstract

Bank vole, striped field mouse, wood mouse, and yellow-necked mouse populations were studied in a mosaic of field and forest habitats. Live-trapping was carried out in 8 woodlots of different sizes (1.5–9.5 ha), situated 5 to 900 m from each other and surrounded by agricultural fields. Near the study area a dense, several hundred hectare forest complex was situated. It was found that the densities of all the studied species' populations in the woodlots were positively correlated with woodlot quality. For local bank vole populations a positive correlation of density with the surface area and circumference of woodlots, as well as with the area/circumference ratio was found. A negative correlation was found for population density and the distance between a given woodlot and the forest complex. For the yellow-necked mouse a positive correlation occurred between the density of local populations and the distance to the nearest neighboring woodlot. For the striped field mouse a positive correlation was found only between the population density in each woodlot and the distance to the forest complex. The wood mouse was insensitive to the variations in woodlot features present except for woodlot quality, and hence was probably responding in density to some other factors. Four rodent species, coexisting in the field-forest habitat mosaic demonstrated different reactions to its spatial characteristics, which were mainly related to different habitat preferences, spatial behavior, and mobility of individuals of the studied species.