Small mammal use of hybrid poplar plantations relative to stand age
MetadataShow full item record
We studied small mammal use of a 9,300-ha complex of hybrid poplar plantations in northeastern Oregon from spring 1997 through winter 1999. Small mammals were surveyed in each of six plantation age classes four times per yr. A total of six rodent and one insectivore species were captured during the study. The three most common species, in declining order of abundance, were deer mouse, Great Basin pocket mouse, and house mouse. Small mammal abundance and species richness were greatest in 1- to 3-yr-old plantations and lowest in 4- to 6-yr-old plantations. Our study suggests that 1- to 3-yr-old hybrid poplar plantations provide suitable habitat for certain small mammals in this region, probably due to abundant understory vegetation. Once plantations reach 4 yr, canopy closure results in a relatively impoverished understory plant community, supporting fewer small mammal species at a lower abundance. Creating habitat heterogeneity by maintaining a diversity of plantation ages within the complex may enhance small mammal species diversity across these landscapes.