In order to assess the effects of wood ash application to forests on small mammals, we collected bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) and common shrews (Sorex araneus) from a forest area in southern Finland. Part of the sample population was from sites that had been treated with ash 1.5 years earlier, part from untreated control sites. The ash increased the soil pH and gave an average cadmium load in soil of 44 g ha(-1). When comparing treated and control areas, we found slightly but significantly lower Cd concentrations in vole muscle, liver, and kidney from treated plots, whereas the Cd concentrations in shrew tissues were greater in animals from treated plots. In voles we detected an increase in Cd concentrations during the 45-d sampling period in treated and untreated plots. The relative weight of kidneys was greater from the ash-treated areas than untreated areas for both voles and shrews. The difference in Cd concentrations between the voles and shrews could be explained by the different food habits.