Effects of roads on small mammals

Journal of Applied Ecology
By:  and 



(1) The study was designed to determine the effects of roads on the diversity, spatial distribution, and density of small mammals. (2) Forty species of small mammal (5859 individuals) were snap-trapped in the study. Data resulted from 144 360 trap-nights of effort for an average of 4.06 captures per 100 trap-nights. (3) Small mammal community structure and density were both influenced by roads. Community structure in right-of-way (ROW) habitat was different from that in adjacent habitat. Five species did not prefer ROW habitat: the golden mouse, dusky-footed woodrat, brush mouse, pinon mouse, and California red-backed vole. However, there were more species present in ROW habitat than in adjacent habitat. Grassland species generally preferred ROW habitat and many less habitat-specific species were distributed in ROW and adjacent habitat. (4) Small mammal density (all species combined) was greater in interstate ROW habitat than in adjacent habitat. This was also true individually for the eastern harvest mouse, white-footed mouse, meadow vole, prairie vole, vagrant shrew. Townsend's vole, and California vole. Small mammal density was less in county road ROWs than in adjacent habitat, probably because of the small size of these areas. The data indicate that ROW habitat and its accompanying edge are attractive no: only to grassland species but also to many less habitat-specific species that make use of the ROW-edge-adjacent habitat complex. (5) Mortality on interstate highways was greatest for those species with highest densities in ROW habitat, and did not appear to be detrimental to populations of these species.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of roads on small mammals
Series title Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume 20
Issue 2
Year Published 1983
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 403-415
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Applied Ecology
First page 403
Last page 415
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