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Forests 2015, 6(4), 957-972; doi:10.3390/f6040957

LAI Variability as a Habitat Feature Determining Reptile Occurrence: A Case Study in Large Forest Complexes in Eastern Poland

1
Department of Hydraulic Structures, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Nowoursynowska 166, 02-787 Warsaw, Poland
2
Faculty of Forestry, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Nowoursynowska 166, 02-787 Warsaw, Poland
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Deanna H. Olson
Received: 16 January 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
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Abstract

Reptile habitats are described using various indices. The definitions of such indices are crucial, as they are applied to habitat modelling for numerous species on local to continental scales. We examined the Leaf Area Index (LAI) for its value as a tool for determining reptile habitat. During measurements carried out in spring and summer months between 2011 and 2013, LAI values were assessed and surveys were conducted on reptile fauna at 11 survey sites in the Solska Forest and Roztocze National Parks areas in Eastern Poland. In total, six Squamata reptiles occurring in Poland were found. We determined that LAI can be utilized as a reptile habitat index, with reptile species associated with LAI seasonal variability as well as LAI range. Moreover, we found that the higher the LAI median value, the greater the variety of reptile species. These findings are useful for development of spatial models of habitats based on LAI as they point to the importance of its seasonal variation. View Full-Text
Keywords: LAI; reptiles; habitat; habitat modelling; species occurrence modelling LAI; reptiles; habitat; habitat modelling; species occurrence modelling
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Berezowski, T.; Kośmider, J.; Greczuk, M.; Chormański, J. LAI Variability as a Habitat Feature Determining Reptile Occurrence: A Case Study in Large Forest Complexes in Eastern Poland. Forests 2015, 6, 957-972.

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