Habitat type and their vegetation composition play important role in determining the abundance and diversity of animals including small mammals, hence any change in habitat type will influence their abundance and spatial distribution. This study aimed at investigating the influence of habitat types (that is, Wetland grassland, Miombo and Vachellia woodlands) on small mammal abundance, diversity, and richness in the Usangu area, in southern part of Ruaha National Park, in Tanzania. Sherman and pitfall plastic bucket traps were employed both for trapping small mammals. A total of 92 small mammals were captured in 2124 trap nights giving 13% trap success representing two families, namely, Muridae (6 species) and Soricidae (1 species). Furthermore, trap success differed among habitat types with the highest being in wetland grassland. Species diversity was higher in Vachellia woodlands compared to other habitat types. It would therefore seem that wetland grassland and Vachellia woodland habitats are very crucial in maintaining small mammal abundance and diversity in Usangu Area. Therefore, future management plan should incorporate these refuge habitats for continued existence of small mammals in Usangu. Further study is warranted in wet season in order to have comparison information that will assist in management of small mammal in Usangu.
Key words: Conservation, habitat preferences, habitat restoration, Miombo woodlands, rodents, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania, Vachellia woodlands, wetland grassland.
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