Control of small mammals on reclamation areas in the AOSERP study area

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  • This proposal was prepared in response to Alberta Oil Sands Environmental Research Program proposed Project No LS 7.1.1, which concerns small mammal research on their revegetation study areas. AOSERP is concerned about the potential disruption by rodents of reclamation efforts on the leases of Syncrude and GCOS. Such disruption by rodents has been documented for other reforestation projects (Radvanyi, 1966, 1970, and 1971). AOSERP intends to evaluate this potential disruption in their study area and devise environmentally safe and efficient methods for reducing it. Based on our understanding of this problem, we feel that two methods of reducing rodent caused disruption of reclamation should be considered. Both involve introducing reclamation efforts in an environment with low numbers of rodents. The methods are: 1. Planting trees and shrubs when rodent numbers are at the low or declining phase of their cycle. This is a non-manipulative approach, but will fullfil the objective of planting seedlings with a minimum of risk of \"predation\" from rodents. 2. Manipulating rodent numbers by manipulating vegetative cover. To implement these methods several sets of data are required. Population \"cycles\" must be described so that lows can be predicted and the effect of vegetative cover on rodent numbers must be known before any manipulations are undertaken. The purpose of the proposed study is to provide data required for predicting population lows and determining the effects of vegetative cover on rodent numbers. We are prepared to participate closely with AOSERP to refine our study plan according to their specific needs. The effective planning of control procedures and the implementation of experimental studies on long-term biological control methods should wait, and be based upon information gathered from the present study.

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