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PS Mwanjabe and H Leirs (1997)

An early warning system for IPM-based rodent control in smallholder farming systems in Tanzania


We conducted a four-year study in Tanzania to test a method for predicting outbreaks of Mastomys natalensis rats and verify whether such method, based on rainfall variability, could be used in an integrated Pest Management strategy for rodent control. Temporal fluctuations in rodent numbers and breeding activity were monitored at four localities with different rainfall regimes. Breeding peaked towards the end of the main rainy season and continued into the dry period. When the short rains of October-January were unusually abundant and well distributed, reproduction started earlier and rodent numbers increased faster. Where abundant short rains were a normal condition returning every year, such effect was not clear. A method to assess rodent damage to germinating seedlings was found to be robust and can be used for monitoring rodent problems. Using this assessment technique, we showed that the effects of a single control action undertaken at planting time do not persist long enough to protect seedlings, probably due to quick reinvasion of the treated fields by rodents from the surroundings. These observations are formulated into a rodent control package whose steps are to predict rodent outbreaks, to warn farmers and the government of the outbreaks, and to organise control measures in advance.

IPM; Mastomys natalensis; crop damage; rodent outbreaks; forecasting; early warning; Tanzania
International Workshop on Rodent Biology and Integrated Pest Management in Africa, MOROGORO, TANZANIA, OCT 21-25, 1996
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology