Date of Award

Fall 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Robert K. Rose

Committee Member

Frank P. Day

Committee Member

Gerald F. Levy

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 D65


Loblolly pine plantations were examined at different ages to identify small mammal community attributes in relation to the succession of the plant community. Forest floor and understory plant communities were characterized. Small mammals were collected by Fitch (live) traps and pitfall traps in four age classes during five seasons of study. Fitch live traps and pitfall traps were used in conjunction with one another to obtain the most accurate depiction of the small mammal community. Fitch traps accounted for 65 % of small mammal captures and 7 of 9 species captured. Small mammal abundance and biomass declined with increasing stand age probably because of increasing plant community homogeneity. However, species diversity and evenness increased with increasing stand age. Although species diversity increased with increasing stand age, there were no significant differences among stands. Increasing evenness is probably the result of scarce and dispersed food supplies supporting low small mammal abundances, but having high evenness among small mammal species due to low abundances. Relative proportions of small mammal trophic groups changed after crown closure. Small mammals that prefer early successional habitats disappeared after crown closure. The golden mouse was the only consistently found rodent in stands after crown closure. However, after selective cutting and self thinning had occurred in late-age stands small mammals that prefer forested habitats and those preferring early successional habitats were found in the same stands. No significant trends of decreasing capture success was found in the trap data due to too few replicates. However, mean small mammal captures decreased from 41 to 14 over the five trapping periods.


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