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Distribution of small mammals in a silvoarable agroforestry system in Northern England

Agroforestry Systems

Abstract

The importance of agroforestry systems in temperate regions in providing habitat for small mammals has not been investigated. Numbers and densities of small mammals were assessed by live trapping in a complex farming landscape including mature hedgerows, arable fields, areas of trees planted at forestry density (2,500 trees ha(-1)) and trees in an agroforestry configuration (178 trees ha(-1)) consisting of rows of trees separated by arable alleys. Over a 2 1/2-year period, 1680 animals were captured; 69% were Apodemus sylvaticus L., 20% Sorex araneus L. and 10% Clethrionomys glareolus Schreber. Small numbers of Mus domesticus Rutty, Sorex minutus L. and Neomys fodiens Pennant were also caught. The density of captures of A. sylvaticus and S. araneus varied little over the whole farming landscape in contrast to C. glareolus which had a greater density of captures in mature hedgerows. However, for the small mammals collectively, away from hedgerows, the highest density of captures was found in the agroforestry tree rows (15.5 per 100 trap nights) and the least in open arable crop (4.3), with both arable alleys and forestry density trees having intermediate values (9.1 and 9.2 respectively). Densities of captures of A. sylvaticus were greater in the tree rows and arable alleys than in the forestry area and the adjacent open arable crop, whereas for S. araneus they were greater in the habitats with trees. It is clear that the range of habitats in an agroforestry system is valuable for small mammal conservation.

Author(s): Klaa, K; Mill, PJ; Incoll, LD

Journal: Agroforestry Systems

Year: 2005

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