Original Research

The influence of fire on populations of small mammals of the Kruger National Park

N. G Kern
Koedoe | Vol 24, No 1 | a624 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v24i1.624 | © 1981 N. G Kern | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 December 1981 | Published: 02 December 1981

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N. G Kern, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

A total of 16 000 trap-nights was employed over eleven months to examine the influence of burning on small mammal populations in two major veld-types of the Kruger National Park. Four burning treatments (control, annual August burning, triennial August and April burning) were examined in detail and the following parameters determined: small mammal species composition, population density, biomass and species diversity. The control treatment had a high, stable small mammal density, biomass and diversity; the annual burning treatment had a low diversity and was dominated by Tatera leucogaster. The triennial burning treatments showed a cycle of species composition from domination by T. leucogaster following burning, through domination by other rodent species to domination by Crocidura hirta at the end of the cycle. The distributions and movements of the small mammals can be explained in terms of cover and litter preferences.

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