Abstract

To minimize risks associated with off-road vehicle use, agencies often designate areas for off-road vehicle recreation; however, this can concentrate impacts. Trails can cause a change in habitat structure and may divide home ranges. Our objective was to survey small mammal populations along a newly established trail to determine whether small mammals were more impacted by changes to habitat structure or the creation of a barrier. Transects established along the trail were trapped to quantify small mammal community structure. Nine species were captured, with Peromyscus spp. being the most abundant. Peromyscus spp. abundance was significantly greater at the immediate trail edge than in the forest interior. Edge effects on habitat structure extended 50 m into the interior but did not appear to affect abundances significantly. Our study suggests that the trail edge itself is more important than the associated habitat change in driving changes to small mammal abundance.

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