North American Prairie Conference


Date of this Version



Published in Prairie Pioneers: Ecology, History and Culture: Proceedings of the Eleventh North American Prairie Conference, August 7-11, 1988, Lincoln, Nebraska (Lincoln, NE 1989).


Relative abundance of small mammals was monitored in an area of aspen parkland burned periodically in spring or fall over eight years to control trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) encroachment into grassland meadows. Seven small mammal species were trapped on the burned and control areas. Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus Ord) and red-backed voles (Clethrionomys gapperi Vigors) dominated the captures prior to burning. Meadow voles were the most abundant species trapped throughout the study, but abundance was affected by frequency of burning and habitat. After three vegetative growing seasons, meadow voles had not recovered to pre-burn abundance in burned grasslands. Redbacked voles declined in burned areas while deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus Wagner) and meadow jumping mice (Zapus hudsonius Zimmermann) were more prevalent. No differences were observed in small mammal abundance related to spring versus fall burns.