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Effects of sheep grazing on abundance and predators of field vole (Microtus agrestis) in upland Britain

Wheeler, Philip (2008). Effects of sheep grazing on abundance and predators of field vole (Microtus agrestis) in upland Britain. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 123(1-3) pp. 49–55.

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A technique using fresh feeding signs as an index of density was validated and used to survey the effects of sheep grazing on vole population densities in four upland habitats in the northern Peak District National Park, UK. In grazed areas Molinia caerulea grasslands supported most voles, Nardus stricta grasslands supported fewer and Eriophorum vaginatum and Calluna vulgaris-dominated areas supported least. There were highly significant negative relationships between vole sign density and sheep numbers in these habitats. Where sheep were excluded, these same habitats had between three and nine times higher sign densities, corresponding to between 1.5 and 2.5 times greater field vole densities. Population estimates of voles and predators such as short-eared owl approximately doubled under reduced grazing. Reducing sheep numbers in upland areas may therefore be critical in encouraging the recovery of predatory birds in the uplands.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2007 Elsevier B.V.
ISSN: 0167-8809
Keywords: Microtus agrestis; grazing; moorland; field signs; vole predators
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 45079
Depositing User: Philip Wheeler
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2016 09:33
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 15:55
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