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Nest site selection and turnover patterns in support of conservation decisions: Case study of the lesser spotted eagle in the core area of its global population

Bergmanis, Ugis, Amerika, Katrīna, Väli, Ülo, Treinys, Rimgaudas
Forest ecology and management 2019 v.448 pp. 67-75
Clanga pomarina, birds of prey, breeding, case studies, forest stands, forests, habitat conservation, logging, longevity, nesting, nesting sites, nests, silvicultural practices, stakeholders, trees
Forest-dwelling raptors nest in the same close, mature forest stands over many years. As mature stands are targets for timber harvesting, the conservation of nest sites should be integrated into commercial forestry practices. Ecological data supporting conservation decisions are essential for ensuring effective conservation, and minimising costs and conflicts among different stakeholders. Here, we analysed nest site selection and nest site turnover patterns in a typical mature-forest-dwelling raptor in the core area of its global population. Our aim was to provide a basis for nesting habitat conservation in the context of commercial forestry. The lesser spotted eagle Clanga pomarina was found to prefer mature stands, located close to the forest’s edge, for nesting. Pine stands were largely avoided by nesting pairs, but the composition of other tree species was similar to stands located in surrounding forests. The lesser spotted eagle occupied the nest for an average of three years, and the number of used nests within a territory increased progressively with the longevity of its occupation. Within a territory, the pair moved between alternate nests mostly up to 600 m. The results of this study suggest that long-term conservation approaches for mature-forest-dwelling raptors should use breeding territory, which contains several nest sites (or suitable stands) spaced at certain distances and covered by temporal buffer, as a target unit in conservation-supporting forestry practices.