Publications (FIS)

Potential of small-scale and structurally diverse short-rotation coppice as habitat for large and medium-sized mammals

authored by
Felix Zitzmann, Michael Reich, Frank Schaarschmidt

We surveyed occurrence and activity of large and medium-sized mammals on three experimental short-rotation coppice (SRC) and three afforestations by camera trapping. Both habitat types were surveyed simultaneously in spring. Additional wintertime surveys were performed on the SRC to consider seasonal aspects of habitat utilisation. In spring, SRC and afforestations were predominantly used by the same species. European hare (Lepus europaeus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) were the most active species across all sites. Additionally, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) showed intense activity on one SRC site. Activity of carnivorous and omnivorous species was comparatively low in both habitat types, but even lower on the SRC. The only forest-associated species (European badger Meles meles), detected on all afforestations, was absent from the SRC. In winter, the surveyed SRC were used by the same species as in spring. Most species showed similar activity on the SRC in both seasons. We conclude that small-scale and structurally diverse SRC provide suitable habitat, in different seasons, especially for herbivorous mammals associated with farmland and forest-ecotones rather than forest species. The extent to which our results can be generalised to large-scale commercial SRC is unclear. However, the results indicate that SRC can be managed in a manner compatible with wildlife and may then have a habitat function for mammals comparable to that of young afforestations. Creation of within-plantation heterogeneity can be a suitable measure to improve habitat quality and should, therefore, be considered in the design and management of SRC.

Institute of Environmental Planning
Institute of Cell Biology and Biophysics
Department of Biostatistics
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Biochemistry, Animal Science and Zoology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Plant Science, Cell Biology
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)