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Habitat selection of an old‐growth forest specialist in managed forests


Ettwein, A; Korner, P; Lanz, M; Lachat, T; Kokko, Hanna; Pasinelli, G (2020). Habitat selection of an old‐growth forest specialist in managed forests. Animal Conservation, 23(5):547-560.

Abstract

Old-growth forest specialists are among the species most affected by commercial forestry. However, it is often unclear whether such species can persist and what their habitat needs are in managed forests. We investigated habitat selection of one such old-growth forest specialist, the white-backed woodpecker Dendrocopos leu- cotos, a species highly dependent on dead wood and typically found in primeval forests. Our aim was to understand factors affecting occupancy probability in man- aged forests in Central Europe, based on detection/non-detection data in 62 squares of 1 km2 in 2015 and 2016. We used occupancy models to compare a priori expectations about the relationships between occupancy and habitat characteristics at two spatial scales while accounting for imperfect detection. Occupancy was best explained by a proxy for food availability at a large (1 km2) scale and increased with the abundance of emergence holes produced by saproxylic beetles on standing and lying dead wood. Furthermore, occupancy was positively related to the mean diameter at breast height of live trees and standing dead wood at a small scale (0.25 km2 with high amounts of dead wood). Detection probability was negatively related to time of day, date and number of accessible survey points, and positively related to the number of observers. Our results demonstrate that detailed knowledge about a species’ foraging ecology is important for its effective conservation as sur- rogate criteria such as dead wood availability might not reflect the key factors required. For white-backed woodpeckers, it is important that the available dead wood is sufficiently colonized by saproxylic beetles, and for the conservation of the species, the habitat requirements of saproxylic beetles thus have to be taken into account as well.

Abstract

Old-growth forest specialists are among the species most affected by commercial forestry. However, it is often unclear whether such species can persist and what their habitat needs are in managed forests. We investigated habitat selection of one such old-growth forest specialist, the white-backed woodpecker Dendrocopos leu- cotos, a species highly dependent on dead wood and typically found in primeval forests. Our aim was to understand factors affecting occupancy probability in man- aged forests in Central Europe, based on detection/non-detection data in 62 squares of 1 km2 in 2015 and 2016. We used occupancy models to compare a priori expectations about the relationships between occupancy and habitat characteristics at two spatial scales while accounting for imperfect detection. Occupancy was best explained by a proxy for food availability at a large (1 km2) scale and increased with the abundance of emergence holes produced by saproxylic beetles on standing and lying dead wood. Furthermore, occupancy was positively related to the mean diameter at breast height of live trees and standing dead wood at a small scale (0.25 km2 with high amounts of dead wood). Detection probability was negatively related to time of day, date and number of accessible survey points, and positively related to the number of observers. Our results demonstrate that detailed knowledge about a species’ foraging ecology is important for its effective conservation as sur- rogate criteria such as dead wood availability might not reflect the key factors required. For white-backed woodpeckers, it is important that the available dead wood is sufficiently colonized by saproxylic beetles, and for the conservation of the species, the habitat requirements of saproxylic beetles thus have to be taken into account as well.

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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)
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Ecology
Physical Sciences > Nature and Landscape Conservation
Uncontrolled Keywords:occupancy modeling; habitat selection; white-backed woodpecker; Dendrocopos leucotos; habitat specialist; forest management; old-growth forests; primeval forests
Language:English
Date:1 October 2020
Deposited On:22 Mar 2021 13:40
Last Modified:25 May 2024 01:50
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1367-9430
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12567
Project Information:
  • : Funderinatura Erlebnis Naturschau GmbH, Dornbirn
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Accepted Version