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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 872536, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/2012/872536
Research Article

Rodent Damage to Natural and Replanted Mountain Forest Regeneration

1Institute of Vertebrate Biology, ASCR, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic
2Institute of Forest Ecology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, Mendel University in Brno, Zemědělská 3, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic

Received 26 October 2011; Accepted 29 November 2011

Academic Editor: Riccardo Castiglia

Copyright © 2012 Marta Heroldová et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Impact of small rodents on mountain forest regeneration was studied in National Nature Reserve in the Beskydy Mountains (Czech Republic). A considerable amount of bark damage was found on young trees (20%) in spring after the peak abundance of field voles (Microtus agrestis) in combination with long winter with heavy snowfall. In contrast, little damage to young trees was noted under high densities of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) with a lower snow cover the following winter. The bark of deciduous trees was more attractive to voles (22% damaged) than conifers (8%). Young trees growing in open and grassy localities suffered more damage from voles than those under canopy of forest stands ( 𝜒 2 = 4 4 . 0 4 , 𝑃 < 0 . 0 0 1 ). Natural regeneration in Nature Reserve was less damaged compared to planted trees ( 𝜒 2 = 5 5 . 8 9 , 𝑃 < 0 . 0 0 1 ). The main factors influencing the impact of rodent species on tree regeneration were open, grassy habitat conditions, higher abundance of vole species, tree species preferences- and snow-cover condition. Under these conditions, the impact of rodents on forest regeneration can be predicted. Foresters should prefer natural regeneration to the artificial plantings.