Main content area

Soil water condition and small mammal spatial distribution in Inner Mongolian steppes, China

Wang, Guiming, Zhong, Wenqin, Zhou, Qingqiang, Wang, Zuwang
Journal of arid environments 2003 v.54 no.4 pp. 729-737
Chinese hamsters, Microtus, Ochotona, Spermophilus, aboveground biomass, data collection, linear models, regression analysis, small mammals, soil water, steppes, vegetation structure, China
We studied the roles of soil moisture contents and vegetation structure in the spatial distribution of small mammals in the typical steppes of Inner Mongolia, China, using logistic and linear regressions of a data set collected in a 6-year study. Our results indicated that soil moisture contents remained in the most parsimonious models for Spermophilus dauricus, Cricetulus barabensis, Microtus maximowiczii, M. gregalis, and Ochotona daurica. The relative abundance of C. barabensis, M. maximowiczii, and O. daurica was inversely related to soil moisture contents, while that of M. gregalis and S. dauricus was positively related to soil moisture contents in logistic regressions. Linear regression analyses showed that soil moisture contents and the number of small mammal species were inversely related. The negative effects of wet soil were consistent at both small mammal population and community levels in the semi-arid steppes. Above-ground plant biomass and plant coverage also affected the spatial distribution of small mammals in the typical steppe of Inner Mongolia.