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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(12), 1972; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10121972

Remotely Sensed Single Tree Data Enable the Determination of Habitat Thresholds for the Three-Toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus)

1
Forest Research Institute Baden-Württemberg (FVA), Department of Forest Nature Conservation, Wonnhaldestr. 4, D-79100 Freiburg, Germany
2
Nationalparkverwaltung Bayerischer Wald, Freyunger Str. 2, D-94481 Grafenau, Germany
3
Chair of Wildlife Ecology and Management, University of Freiburg, Tennenbacher Straße 4, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany
4
Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg, Biocenter, Field Station Fabrikschleichach, Glashüttenstraße 5, D-96181 Rauhenebrach, Germany
5
Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Conservation Biology, Baltzerstrasse 6, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 6 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation)
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Abstract

Forest biodiversity conservation requires precise, area-wide information on the abundance and distribution of key habitat structures at multiple spatial scales. We combined airborne laser scanning (ALS) data with color-infrared (CIR) aerial imagery for identifying individual tree characteristics and quantifying multi-scale habitat requirements using the example of the three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) (TTW) in the Bavarian Forest National Park (Germany). This bird, a keystone species of boreal and mountainous forests, is highly reliant on bark beetles dwelling in dead or dying trees. While previous studies showed a positive relationship between the TTW presence and the amount of deadwood as a limiting resource, we hypothesized a unimodal response with a negative effect of very high deadwood amounts and tested for effects of substrate quality. Based on 104 woodpecker presence or absence locations, habitat selection was modelled at four spatial scales reflecting different woodpecker home range sizes. The abundance of standing dead trees was the most important predictor, with an increase in the probability of TTW occurrence up to a threshold of 44–50 dead trees per hectare, followed by a decrease in the probability of occurrence. A positive relationship with the deadwood crown size indicated the importance of fresh deadwood. Remote sensing data allowed both an area-wide prediction of species occurrence and the derivation of ecological threshold values for deadwood quality and quantity for more informed conservation management. View Full-Text
Keywords: deadwood; standing deadwood; dead tree; snags; three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus); habitat suitability model (HSM); habitat requirements; airborne laser scanning (ALS); CIR aerial imagery deadwood; standing deadwood; dead tree; snags; three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus); habitat suitability model (HSM); habitat requirements; airborne laser scanning (ALS); CIR aerial imagery
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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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Zielewska-Büttner, K.; Heurich, M.; Müller, J.; Braunisch, V. Remotely Sensed Single Tree Data Enable the Determination of Habitat Thresholds for the Three-Toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus). Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1972.

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