Predicting grey-sided vole occurrence in northern Sweden at multiple spatial scales
2013 (English)In: Ecology and Evolution, ISSN 2045-7758, Vol. 3, no 13, 4365-4376 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Forestry is continually changing the habitats for many forest-dwelling species around the world. The grey-sided vole (Myodes rufocanus) has declined since the 1970s in forests of northern Sweden. Previous studies suggested that this might partly be caused by reduced focal forest patch size due to clear-cutting. Proximity and access to old pine forest and that microhabitats often contains stones have also been suggested previously but never been evaluated at multiple spatial scales. In a field study in 2010–2011 in northern Sweden, we investigated whether occurrence of grey-sided voles would be higher in (1) large focal patches of >60 years old forest, (2) in patches with high connectivity to sur- rounding patches, and (3) in patches in proximity to stone fields. We trapped animals in forest patches in two study areas (V€asterbotten and Norrbotten). At each trap station, we surveyed structural microhabitat characteristics. Land- scape-scale features were investigated using satellite-based forest data combined with geological maps. Unexpectedly, the vole was almost completely absent in Norrbotten. The trap sites in Norrbotten had a considerably lower amount of stone holes compared with sites with voles in V€asterbotten. We suggest this might help to explain the absence in Norrbotten. In V€asterbotten, the distance from forest patches with voles to stone fields was significantly shorter than from patches without voles. In addition, connectivity to surrounding patches and size of the focal forest patches was indeed related to the occurrence of grey-sided voles, with connectivity being the overall best predictor. Our results support previous findings on the importance of large forest patches, but also highlight the importance of connectivity for occurrence of grey-sided voles. The results further suggest that proximity to stone fields increase habitat quality of the forests for the vole and that the presence of stone fields enhances the voles’ ability to move between nearby forest patches through the matrix
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 3, no 13, 4365-4376 p.
boreal forest, connectivity, conservation, forest patch size, grey-sided vole, myodes, population ecology, small mammals, stone
Research subject Natural Resources Management
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97613DOI: 10.1002/ece3.827ISI: 000326824300007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-97613DiVA: diva2:679583