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Small-scale habitat use of black grouse (Tetrao tetrix L.) and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta helvetica Thienemann) in the Austrian Alps


Schweiger, Anna-Katharina; Nopp-Mayr, Ursula; Zohmann, Margit (2012). Small-scale habitat use of black grouse (Tetrao tetrix L.) and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta helvetica Thienemann) in the Austrian Alps. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 58(1):35-45.

Abstract

We investigated the small-scale habitat use of two grouse species, black grouse (Tetrao tetrix L.) and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta helvetica Thienemann) in a study area in the Austrian Central Alps in summer. To build habitat suitability models, we applied multiple logistic regression using presence–absence data from fieldwork as the response variable and a set of habitat characteristics as explanatory variables, respectively. To gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that drive habitat selection, we tested for two-way interaction terms before excluding any variables from the initial variable set. Four explanatory variables significantly contributed to the black grouse model: dwarf shrub cover, dwarf shrub height, patchiness and ant hills. The final model for rock ptarmigan contained three explanatory variables: dwarf shrub cover, rock cover and dwarf shrub height. Most notably, the interaction terms dwarf shrub cover×patchiness in the black grouse model and dwarf shrub cover×dwarf shrub height, rock cover×dwarf shrub height in the rock ptarmigan model point out trade-off mechanisms between food, cover and overview providing features. Thus, our models do not only identify the parameters that mainly drive habitat selection, but also deepen our understanding about the causal relationships between these factors. Therefore, the information gained in this study allows for a deduction of appropriate habitat management strategies and supports conservation efforts of local stakeholders.

Abstract

We investigated the small-scale habitat use of two grouse species, black grouse (Tetrao tetrix L.) and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta helvetica Thienemann) in a study area in the Austrian Central Alps in summer. To build habitat suitability models, we applied multiple logistic regression using presence–absence data from fieldwork as the response variable and a set of habitat characteristics as explanatory variables, respectively. To gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that drive habitat selection, we tested for two-way interaction terms before excluding any variables from the initial variable set. Four explanatory variables significantly contributed to the black grouse model: dwarf shrub cover, dwarf shrub height, patchiness and ant hills. The final model for rock ptarmigan contained three explanatory variables: dwarf shrub cover, rock cover and dwarf shrub height. Most notably, the interaction terms dwarf shrub cover×patchiness in the black grouse model and dwarf shrub cover×dwarf shrub height, rock cover×dwarf shrub height in the rock ptarmigan model point out trade-off mechanisms between food, cover and overview providing features. Thus, our models do not only identify the parameters that mainly drive habitat selection, but also deepen our understanding about the causal relationships between these factors. Therefore, the information gained in this study allows for a deduction of appropriate habitat management strategies and supports conservation efforts of local stakeholders.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Nature and Landscape Conservation
Physical Sciences > Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:06 Nov 2020 13:20
Last Modified:07 Nov 2020 21:00
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1439-0574
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-011-0537-7

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