Local variation in rodent communities of Sitka spruce plantations: the interplay of successional stage and site-specific habitat parameters

Authors

  • Fernando A. S. Fernandez,

    1. Dept of Biological Sciences, Univ of Durham, Science Lab, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE. U K
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    • Departamento de Ecologia, Inst de Biologia, CCS, Univ Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CxP 68020, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 21941-590, Brazil

  • Peter R. Evans,

    1. Dept of Biological Sciences, Univ of Durham, Science Lab, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE. U K
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  • Nigel Dunstone

    1. Dept of Biological Sciences, Univ of Durham, Science Lab, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE. U K
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Abstract

Habitat associations of wood mouse Apodemus svlvaticus, bank vole Clethrionomvs glareolus and field vole Microtus agrestis were analysed during a chronosequence study of succession in Sitka spruce Picea stichensis plantations in Hamsterley Forest, northeast England In mature plantations (ca 40 yr after planting), A svlvaticus and C glareolus were both abundant, in clear-felled areas the former was usually dominant, in young plantations (5-8 yr after planting) either of the three species was dominant at different sites Pooling all sites, in young plantations rodent communities were most diverse, because of an inter-site component (β-diversity), although within sites, young plantations and mature plantations had similar diversities Clear-felled areas showed least rodent diversity Detrended Correspondence Analysis was used to describe the taxonomic and structural changes in vegetation during succession Canonical Correspondence Analysis showed that in young plantations C glareolus was associated with dense ground cover, provided mostly by heather Microtus agrestis was most commonly associated with Deschampsia flexuosa, whereas A svlvaticus was not strongly associated with any plant species Spatial heterogeneity in soils explained much of the inter-site variation in vegetation winch in turn explained much of the β-diversity of rodent communities in young plantations

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