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Effects of prescribed burning on rodent community ecology in Serengeti National Park

Effects of prescribed burning on rodent community ecology in Serengeti National Park

Manyonyi, Abeid M., Mariki, Sayuni B., Mnyone, Laudslaus L., Belmain, Steven R. ORCID: 0000-0002-5590-7545 and Mulungu, Loth S. (2020) Effects of prescribed burning on rodent community ecology in Serengeti National Park. Journal of Vertebrate Biology, 69 (2):20001. pp. 1-13. ISSN 2694-7684 (Print), 1573-1189 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.25225/jvb.20001)

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Abstract

A study on the effects of prescribed burning on rodent community ecology was conducted in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. The study aimed at generating ecological knowledge about the changes in rodent communities when areas of the park are intentionally burned to regulate grasslands or reduce undergrowth that can lead to uncontrolled forest fires. A completely randomized design (CRD) factorial layout with two treatments (burned and unburned) and two replications was applied. A total of 148 animals comprising six species of rodent and one insectivore were captured over 2,940 trap nights. Among the trapped individuals, 41.9% were adults, 16.1% juveniles and 41.9% sub-adults. Males and females were at parity between treatments. Species abundance was estimated using the minimum number alive (MNA) method for different rodent species and was found to vary with treatment where Mastomys natalensis declined in burned plots whilst Arvicanthis niloticus increased. However, species diversity did not differ across treatments (F1, 10 = 0.15, p = 0.70). Differences in the reproductive condition of female M. natalensis (z = 4.408, df = 15, p < 0.001) and A. niloticus (z = 2.381, df = 15, p = 0.017) were observed between treatments showing that higher numbers of reproductively active females were observed in burned plots in March, whilst in unburned plots more were observed from November to February. Conservation strategies involving periodic habitat burning should, therefore, consider small mammal reproductive periods to ensure that species potentially at risk are not adversely affected and able to rapidly recover from the effects of burning in temporarily lowering food resources and longer term impacts of increased predation caused by reduced cover.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The Journal of Vertebrate Biology has entered into an licencing agreement Open Access with BioOne and all manuscripts are released immediately after acceptance on their platform.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mastomys natalensis, Arvicanthis niloticus, population, breeding pattern, age structure, recruitment
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Pest Behaviour Research Group
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2020 12:35
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/30222

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