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Title: Influences of large herbivores on small rodents in the New Forest, Hampshire
Author: Hill, Stephen Donald
ISNI:       0000 0001 3578 4851
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 1985
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The distribution and ecology of small rodents within grazed New Forest habitats was compared to similar areas outside the New Forest. Intensive live trapping was carried out for two and a half years (January 1982 to June 1984) in four New Forest deciduous woodlands, grazed by ponies deer and cattle, and two woodlands outside the New Forest, grazed only by deer. For one and a half years (January 1983 to June 1984) trapping was performed in two 5 ha enclosed New Forest woodlands, one grazed by deer the other f^ee from grazing for 22 years. Less intensive trapping was carried out in four grazed New Forest Calluna heathlands, and two heathlands outside the New Forest, grazed only by deer, and on two acid-grassland areas within the New Forest. Rodent diversity and abundance was greater in the woodlands and heathlands outside the New Forest. Within the intensively grazed woodlands this is due to the absence of bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), which can be attributed to habitat modification demonstrably caused by large herbivores. Small rodents were almost totally absent from New Forest heathlands, but this is due more to management practices than to grazing. Woodland wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) populations were low in all sites throughout the study, probably because mast crops were poor. Demographic comparison of wood mouse populations revealed no differences between grazed and ungrazed sites, and were similar to those reported elsewhere. The diet of tawny owls (Strix aluco) in the New Forest was studied by pellet analysis. This revealed that they prey more heavily on wood mice than elsewhere, but it is not clear if this is due to the absence of bank voles and other prey, or increased wood mouse availability due to modification of woodland habitats by large herbivores.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Rodent ecology