Land use determinants of small mammals abundance and distribution in a plague endemic area of Lushoto District, Tanzania

  • Proches Hieronimo Sokoine University of Agriculture Department of Agric Eng & Land Planning P.O.Box 3003 Morogoro
  • Didas N. Kimaro Department of Agricultural Engineering and Land Planning, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3003, Morogoro
  • Nganga I. Kihupi Department of Agricultural Engineering and Land Planning, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3003, Morogoro
  • Hubert Gulinck Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, Leuven
  • Loth S. Mulungu Pest Management Centre, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3110, Morogoro
  • Balthazar M. Msanya Department of Soil Science, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3008, Morogoro
  • Herwig Leirs Evolutionary Ecology Group, Universiteit Antwerpen, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerpen
  • Jozef A. Deckers Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, Leuven
Keywords: land use, small mammals, abundance, distribution, plague, infection risk, Tanzania

Abstract

Small mammals are considered to be involved in the transmission cycle of bubonic plague, still occurring in different parts of the world, including the Lushoto district in Tanzania. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between land use types and practices and small mammal abundance and distribution. A field survey was used to collect data in three landscapes differing in plague incidences. Data collection was done both in the wet season (April-June 2012) and dry season (August-October 2012). Analysis of variance and Boosted Regression Trees (BRT) modelling technique were used to establish the relationship between land use and small mammal abundance and distribution. Significant variations (p ≤ 0.05) of small mammal abundance among land use types were identified. Plantation forest with farming, natural forest and fallow had higher populations of small mammals than the other aggregated land use types. The influence of individual land use types on small mammal abundance level showed that, in both dry and wet seasons, miraba and fallow tended to favour small mammals’ habitation whereas land tillage practices had the opposite effect. In addition, during the wet season crop types such as potato and maize appeared to positively influence the distribution and abundance of small mammals which was attributed to both shelter and food availability. Based on the findings from this study it is recommended that future efforts to predict and map spatial and temporal human plague infection risk at fine scale should consider the role played by land use and associated human activities on small mammal abundance and distribution.

Author Biography

Proches Hieronimo, Sokoine University of Agriculture Department of Agric Eng & Land Planning P.O.Box 3003 Morogoro
ASSISTANT LECTURER, LAND USE PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
Published
2014-07-20
How to Cite
HieronimoP., KimaroD. N., KihupiN. I., GulinckH., MulunguL. S., MsanyaB. M., LeirsH., & DeckersJ. A. (2014). Land use determinants of small mammals abundance and distribution in a plague endemic area of Lushoto District, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, 16(3). https://doi.org/10.4314/thrb.v16i3.8
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1821-9241
print ISSN: 1821-6404