Distribution and dynamics of the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris L.) in a landscape with fragmented habitat
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- van Apeldoorn, R.C., Celada, C. & Nieuwenhuizen, W. Landscape Ecol (1994) 9: 227. doi:10.1007/BF00134749
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In a four year study data on the presence of red squirrel were collected in an agricultural landscape by counting dreys in 49 woods ranging from 0.5 to 14 ha, and differing in quality of habitat and isolation.
Logit regression analysis showed that the area per woodlot covered with conifers is a good predictor of squirrel presence for each year and during the whole period, but the significance of the regression decreases with time. During the study the number of woods occupied by red squirrel increased, and smaller woods and those without conifers also became inhabited. This trend is in accordance with the positive effect of time in regression analyses on the presence of the species and on the colonization of woods, and it suggests an increase of squirrel numbers in the area. Addition of several isolation variables in the regression analyses showed significant effects in different years, and the effect of isolation was independent of time. In the first two years the area of habitat around a woodlot, the distance to the nearest woodlot larger than 30 ha, and the density of possible movement corridors have significant effects on the presence of red squirrel.
In the last two years, with presumably a high number of squirrels, the (short) distance to the nearest woodlot and also the area of habitat around woods have significant effects. It is concluded that the spatial dynamics of the population can be understood as the outcome of individual spatial behaviour, rather than as the result of metapopulation processes.