Title: Do oaks Quercus spp., dead wood and fruiting common ivy Hedera helix affect habitat selection of the middle spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos medius?
Authors : Spühler, L.
Krüsi, Bertil
Pasinelli, G.
Published in : Bird Study
Volume(Issue) : 62
Issue : 1
Pages : 115
Pages to: 119
Publisher / Ed. Institution : Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2014
License (according to publishing contract) : Licence according to publishing contract
Type of review: Not specified
Language : English
Subjects : Mittelspecht; Totholz; Efeu; Eiche
Subject (DDC) : 590: Animals (Zoology)
Abstract: Over the past centuries, many forests in Europe have undergone massive changes resulting in loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitats and a decline in biodiversity. Due to their habitat needs, woodpeckers are generally considered to be excellent indicators of forest habitat quality and biodiversity. In the EU and in Switzerland, the middle spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos medius acts as a flagship species for nature conservation in forests. After several decades of decline, the population of this indicator species more than doubled between 2002 and 2012 in the Canton of Zurich, northern Switzerland. The reasons for this positive trend are unknown. A new hypothesis states that the availability of ivy berries Hedera helix, sometimes eaten by the middle spotted woodpecker, has increased over the same time period and could have contributed to the population growth. Based on the population monitoring in the Canton of Zurich from 2012, the availability of trees with ivy at sites with and without presence of the middle spotted woodpecker was examined in eight forests. At the same time, differences in the availability of oaks Quercus sp. and standing dead trees were studied, two habitat factors well known to be important for the middle spotted woodpecker. As proxy for the availability of these three habitat factors, distances from playback points with and without woodpecker presence to the closest representatives of those resources were measured. Additionally, the distance to the closest living tree was recorded. Results revealed a significantly shorter average distance to the closest oak and, as a tendency, to the closest standing dead tree, respectively, at points with middle spotted woodpecker presence than at points without observations of the species. In contrast, neither the mean distance to the closest tree with ivy nor the mean distance to the closest living tree differed between playback points with and without response from the middle spotted woodpecker. Counting annual rings on cross-sections of 10 ivy stems revealed an average age of 23 years, suggesting that availability of ivy on trees might have increased over the last two decade. This study confirmed that large oaks and standing dead trees are important for the occurrence of the middle spotted woodpecker, whereas the availability of trees with fruiting ivy did not contribute significantly to explaining the presence or absence of the species.
Departement: Life Sciences und Facility Management
Organisational Unit: Institute of Natural Resource Sciences (IUNR)
Publication type: Article in scientific Journal
DOI : 10.1080/00063657.2014.953032
ISSN: 0006-3657
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/6691
Appears in Collections:Publikationen Life Sciences und Facility Management

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