Small mammals provide ecosystem services, acting, for example, as pollinators and seed dispersers. In
addition, they are also disease reservoirs that can be detrimental to human health and they can also act
as crop pests. Knowledge of their dispersal preferences is therefore useful for population management
and landscape planning. Genetic data were used alongside landscape data to examine the influence
of the landscape on the demographic connectedness of the Natal multimammate mouse (Mastomys
natalensis) and to identify landscape characteristics that influence the genetic structure of this species
across a spatially and temporally varying environment. The most significant landscape features shaping
gene flow were aspect, vegetation cover, topographic complexity (TC) and rivers, with western facing
slopes, topographic complexity and rivers restricting gene flow. In general, thicket vegetation was
correlated with increased gene flow. Identifying features of the landscape that facilitate movement/
dispersal in M. natalensis potentially has application for other small mammals in similar ecosystems.
As the primary reservoir host of the zoonotic Lassa virus, a landscape genetics approach may have
applications in determining areas of high disease risk to humans. Identifying these landscape features
may also be important in crop management due to damage by rodent pests.