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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rodent problems in range rehabilitation


Seed predation by rodents has limited successful re-establishment of desirable shrubs, forbs, and grasses on degraded western rangelands. We need to develop methods that temporarily reduce rodent numbers or their predation of planted seed if we are to establish diverse rangeland plant communities. Range site conversion treatments of chaining, prescribed burning, spraying, or drilling have not been effective in reducing deer mice populations. However, seed predation has been reduced by adopting seeding strategies that mimic natural seed predation avoidance mechanisms. Seedings have been designed to mimic the "satiation" strategy for plant establishment by providing more seed and sacrifice foods than can be utilized by the resident rodent population. Seed has been planted in the spring when rodent populations are low, seed has been buried to hinder location, and seeded species have been selected for low rodent preference. Chemical repellents and rodenticides have also enhanced seeding success, but environmental concerns have limited their application.

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