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Abstract

I investigated the effect on small mammal populations of converting an existing fescue (Festuca arundinacea) hayfield to switchgrass (Panicium virgatum) on the George Washington National Forest at Hidden Valley in Bath County, Virginia. Native warm season grasses are thought to provide better habitat than fescue pastures for Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and several species of grassland birds as well as herbivorous small mammals. I established one live-trapping grid and conducted trapping (pre-treatment) in both the switchgrass (treatment) and the fescue (control) field in March and May 1997. The treatment field was sprayed with glyphosate herbicide (Roundup®) in June 1997, burned and seeded to switchgrass. Live trapping was conducted at approximately 60-day intervals during the growing season from March 1997 until October 1999. I caught significantly more individuals in the treatment field (n=349 individuals of 5 species) than in the control field (n=59 individuals of 4 species; X2 = 196.7, d.f. = 1, P< 0.05). The overall capture index was 14.432 and 2.273 animals per 100 trap nights in the treatment and control fields, respectively. The treatment field had a significantly higher mean plant biomass weight ( =58.24 g/m2) than the control field ( =38.41 g/m2; t=4.323; P

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