Abstract: Understanding the relationships between degrees of Plateau pika density and plants biomass is essential for improving the management of pika populations in alpine meadow ecosystems. Twelve survey sites with active burrow of plateau pika were classified into four degrees of density: approximately zero-density, low-density, medium-density and high-density to evaluate pika populations and biomass allocation interactions. The results revealed that plant composition, overall vegetation height and cover, dominant species were significantly different among the four sites. Additionally, plant functional groups, aboveground, belowground and total biomass, root:shoot ratios and the proportion of living roots were greatest at the zero-density site and those at the medium-density site were the lowest. Researchers postulate that pika activities may not be the source of the differences but a symptom of grassland degradation. As such, a reduction of livestock numbers, a variable rotational grazing system, restorative management techniques and community participation in co-management of the meadows are likely to effectively improve grassland productivity and deter pika outbreaks. Further, pika population fluctuations should be monitored and when the population exceeds the economic threshold of low-density (110 pikas or/and 512 active burrows ha-1) or reaches high-density (200 pikas or/and 1360 active burrows ha-1) integrated management strategies should be implemented to protect damage.
Feida Sun, Wenye Chen, Ye Qing, Lin Liu and Wei Liu, 2014. The Density of Active Burrows of Plateau Pika in Relation to Biomass and Allocation in the Alpine Meadow Ecosystems of the Tibetan Plateau. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 13: 598-607.