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A comparison of Eurasian red squirrel distribution in different fragmented landscapes

AuthorsRodríguez, Alejandro ; Andrén, Henrik
Keywordshabitat fragmentation
incidence models
predictive ability
Sciurus vulgaris
thresholds in landscape attributes
Issue Date1999
PublisherBritish Ecological Society
CitationJournal of Applied Ecology, 36: 649–662.
Abstract1. The occurrence of species vulnerable to habitat fragmentation is likely to depend on the size and separation of the fragments. However, the shape of the function that relates occurrence to these landscape parameters may be affected by other fac- tors that are less easily measured, in which case relationships with size and separa- tion in one area may predict occurrence elsewhere only poorly. 2. We explored how well the distribution of red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris in frag- mented woodlands was predicted by simple logistic regression models empirically derived in other fragmented landscapes. 3. Comparisons between predictions lead us to identify thresholds in fragment size (> 10 ha) and distance to a source (< 600 m) where the probability of squirrel occupancy was at least 0 9 in all landscapes. These values may reflect squirrel mini- mum habitat requirements for home range and dispersal in the worst study area. 4. For fragments < 10 ha (outside shared thresholds), models developed in a land- scape could predict squirrel occupancy elsewhere only in 17% of cases, as other factors such as demography or habitat quality might become relevant in very small and isolated fragments. 5. The predictive ability for small fragments also improved when the range of frag- ment sizes in the area of observation fell within the range of sizes in the area where the model was developed. 6. Some models gave correct between-year predictions of squirrel distribution in the same landscape despite noticeable changes in regional squirrel population den- sity. 7. When size and distance thresholds were met, we found that models could be used successfully elsewhere. Tn addition, threshold values indicate how large forest fragments should be and how they should be arranged to favour squirrel occur- rence in a landscape
Publisher version (URL)http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2664.1999.00426.x/pdf
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