Reintroduction of large herbivores has direct and indirect effects on the flora and fauna of a habitat. The aim of this preliminary study was to examine the impact of grazing by Persian fallow deer (Dama dama mesopotamica) on the small-mammal community in the Hai-Bar Carmel Natural Reserve. The study was carried out during spring-autumn 1999 in three areas (∼250 m2 each): grazed, recovering from last year's grazing, and natural (never been grazed). Vegetation coverage as well as small-mammal density and distribution were monitored on a monthly basis. Among the six species (136 individuals) that were caught (five rodents), only the Macedonian mouse (Mus macedonicus) and the small shrew (Crocidura suaveolens) showed differential distribution among the study areas. The Macedonian mouse was the dominant species (60% of all catches) in the recovering plots, while most of the shrews (90%) were found in the natural plots. The two species were rare in the grazed plots. Within the grazed plots, most individuals of all species were found in traps placed near the edge fence where the vegetation was relatively intact. This study demonstrates the potential use of small mammals as bioindicators for herbivore pressure, and illustrates the importance of intact vegetation ∼islands∼ in restored habitats.
|Number of pages||1|
|Journal||Israel Journal of Zoology|
|State||Published - 2000|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology