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Rodent Outbreaks: Ecology and Impacts

posted Jul 1, 2011, 3:04 AM by IRRC Coordination Unit   [ updated Jul 1, 2011, 3:07 AM by Unknown user ]

The impacts of rodents in both developing and developed countries are legendary. Myths and dogma about rodents and their outbreaks abound. They are imbedded in the culture and language of many societies. In many instances, it is the acceptance of these outbreaks by society that is our greatest challenge as crop protection specialists or conservation biologists. The reason these episodic outbreaks become etched in the socio-cultural psyche from the sparsely populated uplands of Laos to the considerably more affluent agricultural lands of Europe is that the impacts are often staggering—economically, socially, and even politically. This book is a collation of contributions from Asia, Africa, Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), Europe, and North America. The advent of ecologically based rodent management (EBRM) has stimulated the progress summarized in this book. The contributions provide a modern appraisal to an age-old problem through a better understanding of the mechanisms that lead to rodent outbreaks, why rodent population numbers increase under different circumstances, and the impact of outbreaks in a range of different agroecosystems and native forests in different parts of the world. This is an encouraging progress report driven by scientists passionate about rodents, about people, about conservation, and about improving our knowledge of these species and the ecosystems they inhabit. And, in a novel twist, there is an appendix of recipes for preparing rat meat. You will be more than tempted to try one of these dishes the next time you travel in Asia or Africa.
Edited by Grant Singleton, Steve Belmain, Peter Brown, Bill Hardy
Publisher: International Rice Research Institute
Los Baños, Philippines
Publication date: November 2010
Web availability: IRRI Google Books (
Click here to view the book online.
Rodent outbreaks and their impact on food security in Asia: an overview
    GR Singleton, SR Belmain, PR Brown
Section 1 – Rodent outbreaks and bamboo flowering in Asia
    Chronicle and impacts of the 2005-09 mautam in Mizoram
    KP Aplin, J Lalsiamliana
The Chittagong story: studies on the ecology of rat floods and bamboo masting
    SR Belmain, N Chakma, NJ Sarker, SU Sarker, SK Sarker, NQ Kamal
The Chittagong story: a regional damage assessment during a rodent population outbreak
    SKM Ahaduzzaman, SK Sarker
Rodent population outbreaks associated with bamboo flowering in Chin State, Myanmar
    NM Htwe, GR Singleton, AM Thwe, YY Lwin
Rodent outbreaks in the uplands of Lao PDR
    B Douangboupha, GR Singleton, PR Brown, K Khamphoukeo
Section 2 – Rodent impacts in lowland intensive rice systems in Southeast and South Asia
    Rodent impacts in lowland irrigated intensive rice systems in West Java, Indonesia.
    Sudarmaji, GR Singleton, PR Brown, J Jacob, N Herawati
Rodent outbreaks in South Sulawesi, Indonesia: the importance of understanding cultural norms
    D Baco, R Nasruddin, H Juddawi
Rodent impacts in lowland irrigated intensive rice systems in Vietnam
    HN Huan, VTQ Nga, PR Brown, MTM Phung, GR Singleton
Socio-cultural factors influencing adoption of ecologically based rodent pest management.
    FG Palis, GR Singleton, PR Brown, NH Huan, NTD Nga
Response options to rodent outbreaks following extreme weather events: cyclone Nargis, a case study.
    GR Singleton, NM Htwe, LA Hinds, W Soe
Analysis of communication pathways and impacts of the Boo! Boo! Rat! campaign
    RJB Flor, GR Singleton
Section 3 – Rodent outbreaks in other regions: a search for generalities
    Rodent outbreaks in Europe: dynamics and damage
    J Jacob, E Tkadlec
Rodent outbreaks in Australia: mouse plagues in cereal crops
    PR Brown, GR Singleton, RP Pech, LA Hinds, CJ Krebs
Rodent outbreaks in New Zealand
    WA Ruscoe, RP Pech
Rodent outbreaks in North America
    G Witmer, G Proulx
Rodent outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa
    H Leirs, V Sluydts, R Makundi
Appendix Recipes for rodent culinary delights

Field methods for rodent studies in Asia and the Indo-Pacific

posted Jul 1, 2011, 2:54 AM by IRRC Coordination Unit   [ updated Jul 1, 2011, 3:04 AM by Unknown user ]

Authors: Ken Aplin, Peter Brown, Jens Jacob, Charley Krebs & Grant Singleton

Audience: Rodent researchers and managers in Asia and Pacific region; rodent researchers around the globe

Rodents are a dominant group of mammals. There are more than 2,700 species of rodents worldwide; in fact, 42% of all the mammal species on earth are rodents. Two thirds of the rodent species belong to just one family, the Muridae, and most of the rodents found in Asia, both pests and non-pests, belong to this family.
Most rodents are prolific breeders and they often represent a significant amount of the animal biomass in forests and other natural ecosystems. As such, they play an important role in the food web, both as consumers of plants and fungi, and as a food resource for many of the larger predators. They are also important environmental engineers, helping to spread pollen and seed, aerating the soil through their digging and burrowing activities, and in extreme cases (e.g. beavers), changing the whole nature of the landscape. These ecological benefits are sometimes called “ecosystem services”.
Less than 10% of rodents are significant pests in agricultural or urban environments. Unfortunately, the people that created this environment generally view the successful rodents in a different light. Indeed, in almost all societies, the rodent species found around houses and in fields are viewed as ‘pests’ or even as ‘vermin’. And often with just cause – the rodents consume and spoil crops in the field and in storage bins, they damage household possessions and even buildings and roads, and they play an often overlooked but highly significant role in the transmission of various diseases.
This book covers experimental design of field experiments on rodents, introduces ecologically-based rodent management, and describes field methodologies (including breeding biology, population dynamics, monitoring of movements, diseases studies, damage assessment) and sociological tools. The last chapter provides a summary of the identification, distribution and biology of the main pest species in Asia and the Pacific.  

Native mice and rats: Australian natural history series

posted Sep 20, 2010, 3:56 AM by IRRC Coordination Unit   [ updated Sep 20, 2010, 4:03 AM by Unknown user ]

by Bill Breed and Fred Ford
Australia’s native rodents are the most ecologically diverse family of living Australian mammals. There are about 70 species – all within the subfamily Murinae – representing around 25 per cent of all species of Australian mammals. They range in size and form from the very small delicate mice to the highly specialised, arid-adapted hopping mice, large tree rats and carnivorous water rats. Native Mice and Rats describes the evolution and ecology of this much-neglected group of animals. It details the diversity of their reproductive biology, their dietary adaptations and social behaviour. The book also includes information on rodent parasites and diseases, and concludes by outlining the changes in distribution of the various species since the arrival of Europeans as well as current conservation programs.
  • The first comprehensive treatment of native rodents for more than 20
  • Summarises the latest advances in knowledge of Australia's
  • Highlights the unique nature of this neglected part of our mammal fauna
  • Outlines recent extinctions and present day conservation challenges
  • Illustrated with colour photos of most rodent species  
Bill Breed is an Associate Professor at The University of Adelaide. He has focused his research on the reproductive biology of Australian native mammals, in particular native rodents and dasyurid marsupials. Recently he has extended his studies to include rodents of Asia and an Associate Professor at The University of Adelaide. He has focused his research on
the reproductive biology of Australian native mammals, in particular native rodents and dasyurid marsupials. Recently he has extended his studies to include rodents of Asia and Africa.
Fred Ford has trapped and studied native rats and mice across much of northern Australia and south-eastern New South Wales. He currently works in the Threatened Species Unit of the New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation.has trapped and studied native rats and mice across much of northern Australia and south-eastern New South Wales. He currently works in the Threatened Species Unit of the New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation.
(see attached pdf for the order form)

Philippine rats: ecology and management

posted Aug 27, 2010, 2:03 AM by IRRC Coordination Unit   [ updated Aug 27, 2010, 3:29 AM by Unknown user ]

Rats, mice and people: rodent biology and management

posted Aug 27, 2010, 1:38 AM by IRRC Coordination Unit   [ updated Aug 27, 2010, 1:50 AM by Unknown user ]

All the papers published in this book were presented at the 2nd International Conference on Rodent Biology and Management. They cover a broad array of topics, from classical taxonomy and systematics to behaviour, and from ecologically based management to applied sciences, as well as state-of-the-art research in fields such as biological control and population modelling.
Citation: Rats, mice and people: rodent biology and management. Singleton GR, Hinds LA, Krebs CJ, Spratt DM. 2003. eds.  ACIAR Monograph No. 96, 564p. ACIAR, Canberra

Ecologically based rodent management

posted Aug 26, 2010, 11:39 PM by IRRC Coordination Unit   [ updated Aug 27, 2010, 1:31 AM by Unknown user ]

The genesis of this book was a common concern on the lack of progress in rodent pest management over the past 20 years in both developing countries and elsewhere. This has occurred despite the advent in the 1970s of sophisticated chemical rodenticides and effective strategies for their use. What has been lacking is a solid understanding of the biology, behaviour and habitat use of the respective species we are attempting to manage. This book has four broad aims: to raise the profile of the importance of basic research for developing effective, applied management of rodent pest; to argue the need for an ecologically-based approach; to raise the profile of rodent pest management in developing countries and to spark interest in prospective students in a challenging but rewarding field of endeavour.
Table of contents
1. Ecologically-based Management of Rodent Pests—Re-evaluating Our Approach to an Old Problem
2. Current Paradigms of Rodent Population Dynamics—What Are We Missing?
3. The Behaviour and Ecology of Rattus norvegicus: from Opportunism to Kamikaze Tendencies
4. Models for Predicting Plagues of House Mice (Mus domesticus) in Australia
5. Rodent–Ecosystem Relationships: a Review
6. The Role of Rodents in Emerging Human Disease: Examples from the Hantaviruses and Arenaviruses
7. Rodenticides—Their Role in Rodent Pest Management in Tropical Agriculture
8. Physical Control of Rats in Developing Countries
9. Ecological Management of Brandt’s Vole (Microtus brandti) in Inner Mongolia, China
10. Biological Control of Rodents—the Case for Fertility Control Using Immunocontraception
11. Urban Rodent Control Programs for the 21st Century
12. Rodent Pest Management in Agricultural Ecosystems in China
13. Rodent Pest Management in the Qinghai-Tibet Alpine Meadow Ecosystem
14. Ecologically-Based Population Management of the Rice-Field Rat in Indonesia
15. Population Ecology and Management of Rodent Pests in the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam
16. Rodent Management in Thailand
17. Farmer Participatory Research on Rat Management in Cambodia
18. Rodents in Agriculture in the Lao PDR—a Problem with an Unknown Future
19. Populations of African Rodents: Models and the Real World
20. Ecophysiology and Chronobiology Applied to Rodent Pest Management in Semi-arid Agricultural Areas in Sub-Saharan West Africa
21. The Rodent Problem in Madagascar: Agricultural Pest and Threat to Human Health
22. Rodent Pest Management in East Africa—an Ecological Approach
23. Ecologically-based Rodent Management in Developing Countries: Where to Now?
Citation: Singleton G, Hinds L, Leirs H, Zhang Z. ed. 1999. Ecologically-based management of rodent pests. ACIAR Monograph No. 59, 494p.

A review of the biology and management of rodent pests in Southeast Asia

posted Aug 26, 2010, 11:06 PM by IRRC Coordination Unit   [ updated Aug 26, 2010, 11:18 PM by Unknown user ]

Twenty-nine species of rodents have been identified as having economic importance in Southeast Asia. Most cause economic losses to crops pre- or postharvest. Some are important simply because they transmit disease to humans or domestic stock. As the title suggests, this report reviews the biology and management of rodent pests in Southeast Asia and recommends priority areas for research.
Pdfs can be downloaded below or at 

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