Small mammals in farm woodlands: the effects of habitat, isolation and surrounding land-use patterns.
The results of this study, which surveyed 38 small farm woodlands ranging in size from 0.05 to 4.45 ha, in an intensive arable region in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, England, demonstrated clearly that the dynamics of wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) and bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) populations in small woods are strongly influenced by the landscape around the woods, for example the distance to neighbouring woods, abundance of hedges and types of crops grown, as well as the habitat within the wood. The woodlands were mainly ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and oak (Quercus spp.), and were surrounded by wheat, barley and oilseed rape crops. Although there had been considerable clearance of hedges and copses, the average distance between woodlands was still <300 m. Woodland maturity and amounts of overstorey and understorey cover, distance to the nearest large woodland, and the extent of adjoining hedgerows were important for both species, while the availability of herbaceous plants influenced bank vole abundance. Wood mice were particularly influenced by neighbourhood crop types, especially wheat and oilseed rape. Woodland size did not affect abundance of either species.