Long-term population patterns of rodents and associated damage in German forestry

Imholt, Christian GND; Reil, Daniela GND; Plašil, Pavel; Rödiger, Kerstin GND; Jacob, Jens GND

BACKGROUND: Several rodent species can damage forest trees, especially at young tree age in afforestation. Population outbreaks of field voles (Microtus agrestis L.) and bank voles (Myodes glareolus Schreber) in particular can cause losses. RESULTS: Analyses of long-term time series indicate good synchrony of population abundance in rodent species associated with damage in forestry. This synchrony could be related to the effect of beech (Fagus spec.) mast in the previous year on population growth rates of both species. In shorter time series from Eastern Germany, damage in forestry was mostly associated with autumn abundances of rodents. Environmental factors such as beechmast and snow cover did not explain additional variation in rodent damage to trees. CONCLUSIONS:Beechmast is agoodindicatorof long-term rodent abundance inNorthernGermanafforestation areas.However, rodent damage to forestry in Central Germany did not seem to depend on environmental parameters other than rodent abundance at large scale. As a result, there is still uncertainty about the link between environmental predictors and rodent damage to forestry, and further experimental work is required to identify suitable environmental drivers and their interplay with other potential factors such as the local predator community. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry

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Imholt, Christian / Reil, Daniela / Plašil, Pavel / et al: Long-term population patterns of rodents and associated damage in German forestry. 2016.

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