Original Articles

Rodent Damage in Southern African Plantations: A Review

Published in: South African Forestry Journal
Volume 128, issue 1, 1984 , pages: 1–7
DOI: 10.1080/00382167.1984.9628917
Author(s): K. WillanDepartment of Zoology,


This paper reviews the problem of damage by rodents to young exotic trees, mainly pines, in Southern Africa. Damage is mainly attributed to two species, the vlei rat Otomys irroratus and the four-striped mouse Rhabdomys pumilio. Aspects of the biology of these two species pertinent to their control are outlined, and various methods of preventing or at least reducing the incidence of damage are discussed. Poisoning appears inefficient as a means of control; it has the serious disadvantage of potentially eliminating predators, and thus may be counterproductive in the medium and long term. Selective removal trapping of target species coupled with strict protection of predators would provide a practical interim alternative to poisoning. It appears essential that intensive applied research be initiated in this field.

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