Skip to main content

Sheila Miara, Rebecca Norris, and Angela Larsen ACF Abstract FY10

Impacts of Savannah Restoration on Small Mammal Density and Diversity in West Michigan

Conference Name: The Annual Wildlife Society Conference

Savannah and other grassland ecosystems are one of the most endangered ecosystems in Michigan and much of North America. Consequently, species which rely on habitat found in this ecosystem are frequently species of concern for management agencies. The US Forest Service is currently beginning a program to restore areas of mixed deciduous forest that were traditionally savannahs. The impetus for this effort is to provide habitat for the federally endangered Karner Blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis). Our objective is to monitor and analyze the impacts of the restoration project on small mammal diversity and density. A control and three treatment plots (shearcutter, bulldozer, and masticator) were monitored. Small mammals were trapped in a grid of 36 Sherman live traps within each replicate. Trapping results indicated that White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) had the highest number of captures in all replicates. Other small mammal species present included Short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda), Masked shrew (Sorex cinereus), Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans), Thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus), and Meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus). The intent is to continue monitoring for the foreseeable future to determine the long-term impacts of the restoration effort.