We analyzed macrohabitat and microhabitat associations of four soricid and five rodent species in five macrohabitats on the Coastal Plain of Virginia. There were no significant differences in total small mammal abundance among macrohabitat types based on total captures/unit effort. However, abundances of four species, Cryptotis parva, Reithrodontomys humulis, Microtus pennsylvanicus and Zapus hudsonius, were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in old fields than in four forested habitats. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that 27% of the variation in small mammal distributions was attributable to microhabitat characteristics. Three characteristics that had a particular influence on small mammal presence in forested habitats were shrub frequency (Sorex longirostris), canopy openness (S. hoyi) and diameter of downed woody debris (S. hoyi, Blarina brevicauda, Microtus pinetorum). Correlations between small mammals and microhabitat characteristics are due to local moisture gradients and structural heterogeneity. Lack of correlations between Peromyscus leucopus and any microhabitat characteristic is due to the ability of this species to obtain requirements from a variety of sources. Preservation of microhabitat characteristics like downed woody debris and understory vegetation, and certain macrohabitats (e.g., old fields), would require minimal management effort and provide suitable habitat for a diverse small mammal fauna in fragmented landscapes.
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Vol. 146 • No. 2