Date of this Version
LaVoie and Tietjen (1971) pointed to the "paucity of quantitative data concerning vital phases of the life history of the pine vole" as one possible reason for our lack of progress in controlling pine vole damage. They suggested that pine voles do not seem to be readily adaptable to a wide range of habitat types and conditions and that this lack of adaptive ability might be exploited in their control by manipulation of limiting factors in their habitat. They also suggested a balanced program of research which would include studies of vole populations, their habits and their habitats as well as damage patterns and control methodology. We agreed with their assessment of the problem and have been collecting information on the first 3 factors named, i.e pine vole populations, habits and habitats and their interactions. Initially, we proposed to determine differences between the characteristics of pine voles in well managed apple orchards and those in a natural habitat, i.e., a hardwood forest. However, because we were unable to locate a population of voles in a natural habitat, we chose to use voles in an abandoned orchard for comparison. Paul (1970) had earlier reported that vole populations decline when an orchard is abandoned. Over the past 5 years, we have conducted two separate studies comparing characteristics of pine voles in maintained and abandoned apple orchards. In 1972 and 1973 we studied two orchards near Sperryville, Va. (Cenge1 et a1. 1977; Estep et a1. 1977) in 1974 and 1975 we compared two orchards near Daleville, Va. (Noffsinger 1976). Because of the large amount of data collected on voles and vegetation in these two studies, only a summary of the major findings will be presented here. The reader is referred to the cited papers for detailed procedures and data.