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Small mammals of a woodland-savannah ecosystem in Zimbabwe. II. Community structure

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Abstract

Community characteristics of small mammals in five woodland-savannah habitats (riverine grassland, miombo, mopane, talus, thicket) were studied at Sengwa Wildlife Research Area in Zimbabwe between July 1992 and July 1993. The study was initiated following a drought year and extended over a year of average rainfall. Fourteen species of small mammals were recorded during mark-and-recapture trapping, with the number of species known to occur in a single community ranging from three to nine. Species complements and biomass (g/ha) were lowest during the first portion of the study and peaked during the 1993 cool dry season. Species diversity (H') was lowest in the hot dry season and highest in the cool dry season. Temporal variation in biomass and species diversity was least in talus and greatest in riverine grassland. Communities in talus and thicket were most similar and those in riverine grassland and thicket least similar. In general, these results suggest that woodland-savannah communities are highly variable and appear to be resource-limited.

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