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Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 105 (2005) 173179 Habitat quality of wildflower strips for common voles

Summary: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 105 (2005) 173≠179
Habitat quality of wildflower strips for common voles
(Microtus arvalis) and its relevance for agriculture
Thomas Briner, Wolfgang Nentwig, Jean-Pierre Airoldi
Zoological Institute, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 6, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
Received 10 March 2003; received in revised form 2 April 2004; accepted 7 April 2004
Ecological compensation areas have been widely promoted in agriculture in the last decade. Besides their positive effects
on biological diversity they also bear a risk of sheltering potential pest species such as common voles (Microtus arvalis). To
assess the influence of wildflower strips on the spatio-temporal behavior of voles and their impact on adjacent crop fields, a
common vole population living in a wildflower strip was monitored from May to October 2000 and from March to September
2001. A new system for automatic radio tracking was used which allowed tracking at 1 min intervals and up to 1000 bearings
per vole per day. Voles showed small home ranges with a median size of 125 m2 (minimum convex polygon) and 30 m2
(Kernel), respectively. Home ranges were stable with a median overlap of 90% for consecutive days, were almost exclusively
within the wildflower strip and contained several core areas per range. A polyphasic activity pattern with a phase length of
1.7 h was found during summer with a trend towards diurnal activity. Overall wildflower strips were high-quality habitats for
voles and sustained high population densities without increased risk of voles dispersing into adjacent fields.
© 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Automatic radio tracking; Dispersal risk; Home range stability; Polyphasic activity
1. Introduction


Source: Airoldi, Jean-Pierre - Zoologischen Institut, Universitšt Bern
Richner, Heinz - Zoologischen Institut, Universitšt Bern


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology