Small mammal use of suburban and urban parks in central Pennsylvania

Caroyln G. Mahan, Timothy J. O'Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


To assist land managers responsible for park management, we conducted a pilot study to examine small mammal assemblages at 7 riparian parks in suburban/urban landscapes and at 1 riparian site in mature forest, all located in central Pennsylvania. Species richness and diversity were lowest in parks containing manicured habitats and surrounded by human-modified landscapes. However, parks managed for passive recreation supported mammalian assemblages that were similar in richness and diversity to our mature riparian forest site. The mature riparian forest site contained four species of small mammals (eastern chipmunks [Tamias striatus], white-footed mice [Peromyscus leucopus], deer mice [P. maniculatus], and woodland jumping mice [Napeozapus insignis]), and Spring Creek Nature Park, a park managed to promote natural and native habitats, contained five species (short-tailed shrews [Blarina brevicauda], eastern chipmunks, white-footed mice, meadow voles [Microtus pennsylvanicus], and meadow jumping mice [Zapus hudsonius]). In contrast, parks located in more urban settings and consisting primarily of mowed habitat contained only 1 or 2 species of small mammals. We did not capture non-native species in our study. Based upon this study, we recommend locating parks along streams or other natural corridors, leaving unmowed 10-15-m buffers along streams, and planting native trees along stream corridors in order to encourage diversity of small mammals in suburban and urban parks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-314
Number of pages8
JournalNortheastern Naturalist
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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