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Small mammals/ Dry stone walls - population survey

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:04 pm
by BenW
I am currently writing a dissertation for a BSc (Hons) degree in Wildlife Management at the University of West of England and looking for some relevant information if there is any out there.

Dissertation topic: Small mammal populations in differing grades of dry stone wall. More specifically - the differing suitability as habitat of 'degraded' and 'intact' wall in the rural environment.

I have already carried out practical data collection in Gloucestershire resulting in plentiful observation of seven species of mice, voles and shrews.

I am looking for any previous research that may have been carried out on a similar topic. Also any more general wildlife / dry stone wall research.

Small mammals in dry stone walls

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 10:30 am
by robinmenneer
You'll see our preliminary findings about wildlife in Cornish hedges in our booklet (75 pages) Wildlife Revival in Cornish Hedges which I published in 1994. We are about to put on our website (www.cornishhedges.com) a long report about the changes in the same one mile of roadside hedge during 47 years of mostly summer flailing. Our data will not be definitive enough to be of great value in your project but the remarkable changes in plant species should useful. What does concern me is how you are coping with the influence of the field/roadside margins as these are likely to have as much or more an effect than the state of the dry stone wall ? Perhaps you could standardise on a so-called upland pasture, a continuous cornfield or a standard lane-side ?

Small mammals in dry stone walls

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 6:46 pm
by BenW
Thanks for the info regarding your publication robinmenneer. I'll definitely look up a copy.

The influence of bordering land-use and margins is one that i agonised over for ages when planning the experimental design. Ultimately i came to a couple of conclusions:

1. Realistically, most dry-stone wall is situated in areas of human use (predominantly arable or pasture), so to ignore the impact of such would be pointless. If i tried to find a stretch of wall in a truly isolated spot with no outside factors, the results would not transfer well to most other walls.

2. I cannot reasonably suggest that observed species are solely utilising the wall as habitat, rather that they utilise it as a significant part of their habitat. The wall still remains an important part of their lives for shelter, food etc..

In reality, i managed to find a single linear stretch of wall about 1.5km long which featured both intact and decaying sections and had fairly homogeneous land use along its entireity. So hopefully, comparing the two should be relatively simple (!). Luckily for me, the land was also in private use and had very little human interference which made things easier.

mammal populations in dry stone work

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:32 pm
by Rik
Working for a woodlands trust, we are about to excavate a medieval corn kiln in S.W. Scotland, (can't say where right now), part of the work will be recording any mammals etc., I'll let you know.
We also have many kilometers of fallen boulder walls (buildings and corals) on our patch, I'll try and find out something for you, I would also be interested in exchanging findings. Cant promise we have any relevant surveys on file, but if I find any leads I'll be in touch.
I too am a BSc. student.

Mammals in Dry stone walls

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:59 am
by robinmenneer
Just to try to help you with your project, I suggest that you also mesure the mammals in a 2m wide strip for a similar length across the middle of the field next door. If you do this on a comparable basis, then you can do a stats test to see how different the two types of wall condition makes things as opposed to none. This may seem unrealistic to you but it could be a fairly easy way of gettting more marks for statistical application. It also gives you entitlement to titles like "The difference a dry stone wall makes to small mammal populations". It may be too late on in the project to do it properly, but a reconnance study ought to allowable as a factor that became evident in the doing of the project.
Yrs Robin

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:29 pm
by BenW
Thanks guys. Appreciate your help and advice.

The mammal surveying was carried out and completed over the summer and i'm currently at the fun stage - analysis and lots of typing!!

I still haven't managed to find any peer-reviewed or published surveys on a similar topic, so if anyone else out there knows of any.........

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:32 pm
by stonedyker@talk21.com
Ben,
This volume may help you-
''Landscapes Boundaries - consequences for Biotic Diversity and Ecological Flows'', Andrew J Hansen and Francesco di Castri editors. 1992, Ecological Studies 92, Springer-Verlag.

The last time I looked copies were available on amazon.com for $175.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:32 pm
by stonedyker@talk21.com
Ben,
This volume may help you-
''Landscapes Boundaries - consequences for Biotic Diversity and Ecological Flows'', Andrew J Hansen and Francesco di Castri editors. 1992, Ecological Studies 92, Springer-Verlag.

The last time I looked copies were available on amazon.com for $175.