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Arizona State University (2012)

Effects of Off-road Vehicles on Rodents in the Sonoran Desert

Reid, John Simon

Titre : Effects of Off-road Vehicles on Rodents in the Sonoran Desert

Auteur : Reid, John Simon

Université de soutenance : Arizona State University

Grade : M.S. Applied Biological Sciences 2012

Human recreation on rangelands may negatively impact wildlife populations. Among those activities, off-road vehicle (ORV) recreation carries the potential for broad ecological consequences. A study was undertaken to assess the impacts of ORV on rodents in Arizona Uplands Sonoran Desert. Between the months of February and September 2010, rodents were trapped at 6 ORV and 6 non-ORV sites in Tonto National Forest, AZ. I hypothesized that rodent abundance and species richness are negatively affected by ORV use. Rodent abundances were estimated using capture-mark-recapture methodology. Species richness was not correlated with ORV use. Although abundance of Peromyscus eremicus and Neotoma albigula declined as ORV use increased, abundance of Dipodomys merriami increased. Abundance of Chaetodipus baileyi was not correlated with ORV use. Other factors measured were percent ground cover, percent shrub cover, and species-specific shrub cover percentages. Total shrub cover, Opuntia spp., and Parkinsonia microphylla each decreased as ORV use increased. Results suggest that ORV use negatively affects rodent habitats in Arizona Uplands Sonoran Desert, leading to declining abundance in some species. Management strategies should mitigate ORV related habitat destruction to protect vulnerable populations

Mots Clés : Biology / Ecology / Wildlife conservation / ATV / Habitat / Off-road vehicle / Rodent / Small mammal / Sonoran Desert


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Page publiée le 8 novembre 2012, mise à jour le 14 novembre 2017