Article: article from journal or magazin.
Winter habitat selection by two sympatric forest grouse in western Switzerland: implications for conservation
Two endangered tetraonids, the capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and the hazel grouse (Bonasa bonasia rupestris), are sympatric throughout part of their distribution range in central Europe. Precise information on their specific habitat requirements is needed if the coexistence of both species in exploited forests is to be maintained. We quantified winter habitat selection for both species in the upper part (1100-1600 m) of the Jura mountains (Switzerland). No preference for altitude or exposure could be detected. Capercaillie preferred open forests (including grazed forests) with a sparse canopy dominated by spruce (Picea abies) and fir (Abies alba), and avoided dense undercanopy and understorey, especially when dominated by spruce and beech (Fagus sylvatica). By contrast, hazel grouse preferred feeding sites with a dense understorey of rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), willow (Salix sp.), beech and spruce. These preferences can be related to the feeding habits and predator avoidance behaviour of both species. Coexistence thus requires a mosaic distribution of habitat types, with a matrix of open forests (30% canopy cover) where fir is favoured, and understorey kept sparse (20%). Group-cuts of mature trees should allow regeneration patches, where a dense understorey (50% cover) should provide suitable habitats for hazel grouse
capercaillie, hazel grouse, forest management, Switzerland, winter habitat selection
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