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Can a native rodent species limit the invasive potential of a non-native rodent species in tropical agroforest habitats?

Stuart, A. M., Prescott, C. V. and Singleton, G. R. (2016) Can a native rodent species limit the invasive potential of a non-native rodent species in tropical agroforest habitats? Pest Management Science, 72 (6). pp. 1168-1177. ISSN 1526-4998

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/ps.4095

Abstract/Summary

BACKGROUND Little is known about native and non-native rodent species interactions in complex tropical agro-ecosystems. We hypothesised that the native non-pest rodent Rattus everetti may be competitively dominant over the invasive pest rodent Rattus tanezumi within agroforests. We tested this experimentally by using pulse removal for three consecutive months to reduce populations of R. everetti in agroforest habitat and assessed over 6-months the response of R. tanezumi and other rodent species. RESULTS Following removal, R. everetti individuals rapidly immigrated into removal sites. At the end of the study period, R. tanezumi were larger and there was a significant shift in their microhabitat use with respect to the use of ground vegetation cover following the perturbation of R. everetti. Irrespective of treatment, R. tanezumi selected microhabitat with less tree canopy cover, indicative of severely disturbed habitat, whereas, R. everetti selected microhabitat with a dense canopy. CONCLUSION Our results suggest that sustained habitat disturbance in agroforests favours R. tanezumi, whilst the regeneration of agroforests towards a more natural state would favour native species and may reduce pest pressure in adjacent crops. In addition, the rapid recolonisation of R. everetti suggests this species would be able to recover from non-target impacts of short-term rodent pest control.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:41538
Publisher:Wiley

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