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Effect of Seeding Burned Lands on the Abundance of Rodents and Leporids on Naval Petroleum Reserve no. 1, Kern County, California

Mark R. M. Otten and Gary L. Holmstead
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 41, No. 2 (Jun., 1996), pp. 129-135
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30055095
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Effect of Seeding Burned Lands on the Abundance of Rodents and Leporids on Naval Petroleum Reserve no. 1, Kern County, California
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Abstract

The effect of seeding previously burned lands on rodent and leporid abundances was investigated on Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 1, Kern County, California between 1990 and 1993. Rodents and leporids are important prey items for the federally endangered San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica). One-half of a 263-ha area that burned in 1988 was mechanically drill seeded in December 1990 while the other half was left unseeded. A 162-ha control site was established adjacent to the unseeded burn site in June 1991. Vegetative characteristics were recorded for each site by measuring vascular plant cover, live shrub density, herbaceous production, plant species richness, and plant community similarity. Rodent use of sites was assessed through live-trapping three times each year. Leporid use of sites was assessed using line transect surveys and pellet counts. Vascular plant cover was similar among sites for all years. Live shrub density increased on all sites through time and was significantly higher on the seeded burn site in 1993. No consistent trend was detected in herbaceous production on sites. Plant species richness was similar on all sites although the number of species generally increased on each site through time. Plant community similarity between sites changed through time, but was nearly equal by 1993. Abundance of rodents and leporids was not consistently higher on any site. More kangaroo rats were captured on the unseeded burn site than on the seeded burn site, but differences were significant for only three trapping sessions. Results indicate that seeding did not affect either rodent or leporid abundance on burned land. Vegetative characteristics of the sites may not have been sufficiently different to produce detectable differences in either rodent or leporid abundance.

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