Responses of small rodents to habitat restoration and management for the imperiled Florida Scrub-Jay
Abbreviated Journal Title
Cape Canaveral; Coastal scrub; Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris; Prescribed burning; Single-species management; Southeastern beach mouse; PEROMYSCUS-POLIONOTUS-NIVEIVENTRIS; EAST-CENTRAL FLORIDA; BIOLOGICAL; DIVERSITY; POPULATION-DYNAMICS; BEACH MOUSE; CONSERVATION; UMBRELLA; MAMMALS; USA; FRAGMENTATION; Biodiversity Conservation; Ecology; Environmental Sciences
Debate about the relative merits of single-species management versus more comprehensive approaches has intensified in recent years. In east-central Florida, USA, land managers use prescribed burns and mechanical cutting to manage and restore scrub habitat to benefit the imperiled Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens). However, these land-management techniques may affect non-target taxa, especially the threatened southeastern beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris). We evaluated the collateral effects of single-species land management by trapping P. p. niveiventris and other small rodents in eighteen land-management compartments at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida during 2004-2005. Compartments were managed using either prescribed burns (N = 5), mechanical cutting (N = 6), checkerboarding (cut and uncut lanes alternating and overlapping, followed by a prescribed burn, N = 4) or left unburned and uncut for >50 year (N = 3). P. p. niveiventris was significantly more abundant in compartments managed with prescribed burns (mean SE: 4.2 +/- 0.7 individuals/transect) than those managed with cutting alone (1.0 +/- 0.3) or not managed for >50 y (0.2 +/- 0.1 individuals/transect). In contrast, the cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus) tended to be more abundant in compartments managed with mechanical cutting alone (2.6 +/- 0.4 individuals/transect) compared to the other three management strategies (prescribed burns; 1.5 +/- 0.4; checkerboarding, 1.1 +/- 0.3; not managed, 1.6 +/- 0.4 individuals/transect) but these differences were not statistically significant. Abundances of P. p. niveiventris and Florida Scrub-Jay breeding groups were positively correlated (r = 0.655), suggesting that both listed species benefit from similar management techniques. Thus, the mosaic of burned and cut patches used to improve habitat for the Florida Scrub-Jay also benefits an endemic, non-target species. Single-species management may benefit multiple species when restoration improves their shared habitat, which in this case is an endangered, fire-dependent ecosystem: Florida scrub. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
"Responses of small rodents to habitat restoration and management for the imperiled Florida Scrub-Jay" (2009). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 2194.