The effects of deer exclosures on voles and shrews in two forest habitats

David Byman

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3 Scopus citations


- White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have overbrowsed much of the hemlock-mixed northern hardwood forest in northeastern Pennsylvania. I investigated the possible deleterious effect of this overbrowsing on 4 ground-cover-dependent small-mammal species through the use of deer exclosures. From May through September 19962005,4 ** 10 Sherman live-trap grids were placed in two 0.65-ha exclosures and their adjacent control sites in forest heavily browsed by deer. One exclosure was located beneath a primarily oak-maple canopy and the other exclosure under Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock). More Myodes gapperi (Southern Red-backed Vole) were captured in the oak-maple grids than in the hemlock grids and more M. gapperi were taken in the oak-maple exclosure than in the neighboring control. Microtus pinetorum (Woodland Vole) first appeared at the grids six years after the exclosure construction, and a large majority were taken in the oak-maple exclosure. Of Blarina brevicauda (Northern Short-tailed Shrew) captured at the grids, 80% were taken in the oak-maple grids and 58% in the oak-maple exclosure. Beginning in 2000, most of Sorex cinereus (Masked Shrew) captured were taken in the oakmaple habitat. Most of those trapped under the oak-maple canopy were taken in the control. These observations suggest that heavy deer browsing may depress populations of M. gapperi, M. pinetorum, and B. brevicauda, but not Sorex cinereus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-520
Number of pages12
JournalNortheastern Naturalist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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