Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist 52:11-20; 2020


Small mammals are important in grasslands but are often overlooked in management and reconstruction efforts. We sampled small mammals in three sites on the Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB) located in central Grand Forks County, North Dakota, USA. The study sites varied in their management history and represented the three major types of grasslands (reconstructed prairie, old field, and hay field) within Grand Forks County. We captured 463 individuals of six species with Sherman live traps in summer (June, July, August) 2014 and 2015. We captured the most individuals and species (295 individuals of 5 species), including all shrews (Sorex arcticus and Sorex spp.) and an ermine (Mustela erminea; a new record for GFAFB), in an upland reconstructed prairie, and we captured the least in a lowland hay field (5 individuals of 1 species). Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) were captured most frequently (96% of individuals) and were affected marginally by changes in vegetation height density over time. Our findings reinforce the notion that not all grasslands equally serve small mammals and that managers need to focus on landscape-scale heterogeneity to support diverse small mammal communities in grasslands.