Small mammals on one-year set-aside
Tattersall FH., Macdonald DW., Manley WJ., Gates S., Feber R., Hart BJ.
Despite its conservation potential, little is known of whether land taken out of arable production as set-aside benefits wildlife, nor what features enhance its value as a habitat. We studied the presence of small mammals on one-year set-aside through a summer harvest period (278 captures in 3000 trap nights). Trapping success was low on all set-aside (0.6%), but was higher in adjoining hedgerow (30%) and cereal crops (13%). Wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus (Linnaeus, 1758) were the most commonly caught species, and the only species to occur on set-aside. There were no significant differences in trap success between set-aside configured in blocks and strips, nor between sown and naturally regenerated set-aside. Captures on set-aside increased after harvest, when the crop no longer provided cover. Our data demonstrate that set-aside is not necessarily a suitable habitat for small mammals.