, Volume 103, Issue 3, pp 265-269

The effect of matrix on the occurrence of hazel grouse (Bonasa bonasia ) in isolated habitat fragments

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The aim of this study was to determine the effect of matrix on the occurrence of hazel grouse (Bonasa bonasia) in habitat fragments. The study was conducted in two kinds of landscape: (1) an agricultural landscape, where the censused forest habitat fragments were surrounded by farmland, and (2) in an intensively managed forested landscape, where the censused habitat fragments were surrounded by nonhabitat coniferous forest. Occupied and unoccupied habitat fragments in the agricultural landscape differed significantly in distance to the nearest suitable continuous habitat, with hazel grouse occurring only in habitat fragments closer than 100 m from continuous forest. In the intensively managed forest landscape, the effect of isolation was less evident, but there might be a threshold around 2 km. Effects of isolation occurred over much shorter distances when the surrounding habitats consisted of farmland than when it was forested habitats. The size of the habitat fragments was important in both landscapes, with larger habitat fragments more often containing hazel grouse.