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Mammals; Habitat conservation


Responses of small mammals to management of roadsides in south central Minnesota were examined from August-October in 1980 and 1981. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources established and maintained vegetation along portions of these roadsides by planting Bromus inermis and Medicago sativa as nesting cover for ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) and with infrequent mowing. Landowners or state and county transportation departments maintained other roadside areas by frequent mowing of native vegetation. Mowing of roadsides had a negative effect on abundance of Blarina brevicauda, Peromyscus leucopus, Microtus pennsylvanicus, and Mustela erminea during both summer and autumn and on abundance of Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii during late summer. In contrast, mowing had a positive influence on abundance of Mus musculus in roadsides planted with B. inermis and M sativa during summer and autumn. Roadsides planted with B. inermis and M sativa apparently increased the number of P. m. bairdii in autumn. The effects of roadside planting and mowing on the abundance of various species of small mammals were attributed to differences in height and density of vegetation and depth and coverage of litter.

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