Skip to Main Content

The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Effects of prescribed burning and thinning in natural Piedmont loblolly-shortleaf stands on small mammal populations
Year: 2002
Author(s): Chapman, K. K.
Source Title: Proceedings of the Third Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 154-161
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Small mammals on the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia, were intensively trapped using a combination of drift fences and snap traps on 21 plots with 5 different treatments and a control in fall and winter. Three-hundred-five mammals including 5 rodent species in 3 shrew species were caught in naturally regenerated sawtimber-sized loblolly-shortlead pine stands. Small mammal relative abundance increased an average of 3 times the first growing season after prescribed winter burns in thinned stands compared to unburned, unthinned stands. Numbers declined each growing season after burning. Mammal numbers on thinned only stands were intermediate between fourth growing season burns and unmanaged stands. There was a positive correlation between small mammal numbers and understory vegetative cover. Small mammal abundance and species diversity is influenced by the management of pine habitat on the Refuge. Statistically numbers and biomass of small mammals are significantly greater in first and second growing season burn stands than in stands which had only been thinned and unmanaged stands. The third and fourth year burns had a downward trend in numbers and biomass as the effects of burning diminish. Compared to the management practice of thinning alone, prescribed burn plots had a decrease in the frequency of woody plants and an increase in forbs and grasses. This and the greater percentage of combined vegetative cover many be contributing factors in the increase of numbers and biomass of small mammals on burned areas. The results of this study suggest that white-footed mice alone could serve as an indicator of habitat manipulation, or the lack thereof, in older Piedmont pine stands. This species was the most abundant mammal captured. In biomass there was a significant difference between first year burns and all other treatments. White-footed mice follow the same general trends in numbers and biomass as all species combined.
Publisher: The North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, NC, October 1-3, 2002. Omnipress, Madison, WI
Editor(s): J. Randall