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”.