Rodent diversity and habitat association in Handeni Hill Forest Reserve, North Eastern Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


The distribution and diversity of rodents is influenced by various factors such as vegetation characteristics, climatic conditions, disease, predation and habitat modification due to anthropogenic activities and food abundance. This study was conducted in Handeni Hill Forest Reserve from November 2018 to March 2019 with the aim of assessing the influence of habitat characteristics on the abundance and distribution of rodent species. Four permanent grids of 70 m by 70 m with 49 Sherman live traps were established in miombo woodland and evergreen forest habitats respectively. In each habitat type one pitfall drift fence was also established. A total of 102 individuals of 8 rodent species from 4704 traps nights were captured namely Praomys sp, Gerbilliscus vicinus, Grammomys dolichurus, Rattus rattus, Mastomys natalensis, Acomys wilsonii, Lemniscomys rosalia and Mus minutoides. Species such as G. dolichurus were restricted to the thickets in the evergreen forest and Praomys sp was restricted in a higher altitude of the Miombo woodland habitat. The canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was used in showing a relationship among species, grids and habitat characteristics. The CCA ordination plot revealed factors such as shrub height, moisture and ground cover to have influence in species diversity and distribution. The study concludes that habitat factors such as ground cover and shrub height have strong influence on the species abundance in the area followed by moisture content.


A Dissertation 2019


Rodent diversity, Habitat association, Handeni Hill Forest Reserve, North Eastern Tanzania, Food abundance