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Hazel grouse winter habitat selection and conservation in temperate forest

Rhim, Shin-Jae
Forest ecology and management 2013 v.295 pp. 38-42
Alnus, Betula, deciduous forests, foods, forest roads, grouse, habitat conservation, habitats, landscapes, mixed forests, models, plantations, road construction, temperate forests, trees, South Korea
I investigated the small-scale winter habitat selection of hazel grouse Bonasa bonasia in temperate forest, South Korea. The birds showed a preference for natural deciduous forest, followed by mixed forest, coniferous plantations, and deciduous plantations. The top-ranked model for winter habitat selection by the hazel grouse (ω=0.72, r2=0.81) was 0.42 [understory cover]+0.33 [forest type]+0.24 [distance from the nearest forest road]+0.18 [number of birches]+0.12 [number of alders]. These results suggest that the conservation of natural deciduous forest, dense understory vegetation, and food trees (birches and alders), as well as a reduction in forest road construction, could enhance critical winter habitat for hazel grouse. A multi-scale approach is needed to understand the relative importance of small and large scale landscape factors that influence hazel grouse habitat selection. Future research on habitat selection by the hazel grouse should use a multi-scale approach and should assess the birds’ preferences throughout the year.