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Winter habitat selection and conservation of Hazel Grouse(Bonasa bonasia) in mountain forests


Schäublin, S; Bollmann, K (2011). Winter habitat selection and conservation of Hazel Grouse(Bonasa bonasia) in mountain forests. Journal of Ornithology, 152(1):179-192.

Abstract

The Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia) has suffered
from habitat loss due to changes in forestry practices
in many regions of Europe. The widespread conversion of
structurally heterogeneous to uniform, single-layered
stands has caused many of its populations to decline. The
trend in multi-functional forestry towards more dynamic
processes and natural rejuvenation offers a unique opportunity
to restore many habitats of Hazel Grouse in core
areas of its actual distribution. As the Alps represent a
stronghold of Hazel Grouse distribution in Central Europe,
we aimed to determine the species–habitat relationship in
mountain forests. We assessed the distribution and characteristics
of Hazel Grouse habitat in a forest reserve of the
Swiss Alps. Abiotic, structural and vegetation characteristics
were investigated at the small scale, and abiotic and
forest inventory data at the large scale. We compared the
habitat characteristics of used and unused forest stands
with a raster system consisting of bird presence and
absence cells by applying a logistic regression. Hazel
Grouse preferred stands with high proportions of tall
rowans, forest edges, and a dense shrub layer at the small
scale. Rowans had the strongest influence on Hazel Grouse
occurrence. At the large scale, Hazel Grouse preferred
forests with large proportions of alder and a diverse mosaic
of canopy closure and stand structure. For 44% of the study
area, the large-scale model predicted a probability of Hazel
Grouse occurrence of more than 0.5. Our data supports the
recommendation that the availability of suitable habitat for
Hazel Grouse can be increased by natural reforestation of
tree-fall gaps and stands with bark beetle infestation, as
well as by enhancing the proportion of old-growth stands.
Both measures will augment the shrub cover and number of
rowan trees, two essential habitat and food resources for
Hazel Grouse in mountain forests.

Abstract

The Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia) has suffered
from habitat loss due to changes in forestry practices
in many regions of Europe. The widespread conversion of
structurally heterogeneous to uniform, single-layered
stands has caused many of its populations to decline. The
trend in multi-functional forestry towards more dynamic
processes and natural rejuvenation offers a unique opportunity
to restore many habitats of Hazel Grouse in core
areas of its actual distribution. As the Alps represent a
stronghold of Hazel Grouse distribution in Central Europe,
we aimed to determine the species–habitat relationship in
mountain forests. We assessed the distribution and characteristics
of Hazel Grouse habitat in a forest reserve of the
Swiss Alps. Abiotic, structural and vegetation characteristics
were investigated at the small scale, and abiotic and
forest inventory data at the large scale. We compared the
habitat characteristics of used and unused forest stands
with a raster system consisting of bird presence and
absence cells by applying a logistic regression. Hazel
Grouse preferred stands with high proportions of tall
rowans, forest edges, and a dense shrub layer at the small
scale. Rowans had the strongest influence on Hazel Grouse
occurrence. At the large scale, Hazel Grouse preferred
forests with large proportions of alder and a diverse mosaic
of canopy closure and stand structure. For 44% of the study
area, the large-scale model predicted a probability of Hazel
Grouse occurrence of more than 0.5. Our data supports the
recommendation that the availability of suitable habitat for
Hazel Grouse can be increased by natural reforestation of
tree-fall gaps and stands with bark beetle infestation, as
well as by enhancing the proportion of old-growth stands.
Both measures will augment the shrub cover and number of
rowan trees, two essential habitat and food resources for
Hazel Grouse in mountain forests.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:08 Mar 2011 18:28
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:36
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0021-8375
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-010-0563-3

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