Great Basin Naturalist


This paper addresses how habitat manipulations in a black sagebrush (Artemisia nova)–dominated area, John's Valley of southern Utah, affected resident desert rodent populations. Rodents studied included the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), Great Basin pocket mouse (Perognathus parvus), sagebrush vole (Lagurus curtatus), Ord's kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii), and least chipmunk (Eutamias minimus). The experimental design involved analyses of treatment and control (nontreatment) plots rather than pre- and posttreatment of all plots. Habitat manipulations emphasized cutting of shrubs (rotobeating), treatment of plants with a herbicide (2,4-D), and reseeding with a mixture of grasses, forbs, and shrubs. Posttreatment trapping indicated the deer mouse was the most abundant rodent in treatment and control plots. Data indicate the prescribed habitat treatments had no significant negative affects on the deer mouse demes on the control or treatment plots. Habitat treatments may have negatively impacted recruitment in pocket mice. Least chipmunks were not captured in plots treated by rotobeating. Our habitat manipulations may have contributed to interspecific competition in this rodent community through the reduction of both food and cover.