Patricia C. Brandbeck
Impact of habitat characteristics and hiking trails on Capercaillie
Human activity can represent disturbance stimuli for capercaillie and is seen as one of the major causes for the population decline. Assuming that human activity takes place on hiking trails and forest roads, these were used as indicator for human disturbance. I investigated the possible impact of trails/roads on capercaillie presence in Styria and the Black Forest. The distance from one sampling plot to the next hiking trail/forest road and different habtitat features have been recorded and used as explanatory variables. Capercaillie presence and absence data were used as response variable. The results show that bilberry is the most determinant factor for capercaillie presence in both study areas. What is most remarkable is the negative effect of hiking trails on capercaillie presence in the Black Forest, what may arise from human activity. Forest roads did not have any impact in one of the study areas. The reason therefore might be that forest roads are less used by people than hiking trails, as hiking trails are signposted. Human disturbance still seems to be a problem for the local capercaillie population in the Black Forest.
Forestry studies at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg im Breisgau (2008-2011). Bachelor thesis about roe deer fawn bed sites. Thereafter obtains master's degree of wildlife ecology and wildlife management at University of Life Science Vienna. During and after studies activity in nature conservation organisations and landscape planning.
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