Effects of fire, food availability and vegetation on the distribution of the rodent Bolomys lasiurus in an Amazonian savanna
We investigated the relative influences of vegetation cover, invertebrate biomass as an index of food availability and the short-term effects of fires on the spatial variation in densities of the rodent Bolomys lasiurus in an Amazonian savanna. Densities were evaluated in 31 plots of 4 ha distributed over an area of approximately 10×10 km. The cover of the tall grass (Trachypogon plumosus), short grass (Paspalum carinatum), shrubs and the extent of fire did not explain the variance in densities of Bolomys lasiurus. Food availability alone explained about 53% of the variance in B. lasiurus densities, and there was no significant relationship between insect abundance and vegetation structure. Fires had little short-term impact on the density of Bolomys lasiurus in the area we studied. As the species appears to respond principally to food availability, habitat suitability models based on easily recorded vegetation-structure variables, or the frequency of disturbance by fire, may not be effective in predicting the distribution of the species within savannas.(Accepted April 12 2002)
Key Words: Amazon; grassland; habitat; population; rat.
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