European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 1–6

Vegetation structure descriptors regulating the presence of wild rabbit in the National Park of Peneda-Gerês, Portugal

Original Paper

Abstract

The aim of this work is to assess whether there is a specific structural vegetation pattern for the wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus (L., 1758) that might explain its spatial distribution. The species presence was approached through logistic regression modelling based on selected descriptors of vegetation landscape structure: number of homogeneous vegetation units, their areas and diversity values and heterogeneity indexes. All variables were derived for two hunting areas within the National Park of Peneda-Gerês in northern Portugal. The results show the wild rabbit preference for types of vegetation cover that offer, first of all, shelter, mainly in the form of shrub cover, and secondly, vegetation cover that always displays high fragmentation or high availability of resources. This animal avoids landscapes with homogeneous and continuous vegetation cover. The results obtained are suggestive of management actions to improve the habitat in order to encourage development of the species, whose presence will also favour the threatened and endangered predators that occur in the National Park of Peneda-Gerês.

Keywords

Oryctolagus cuniculus Logistic regression Habitat preferences Distribution Vegetation structure Portugal 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Estudos em Gestão de Ecossistemas/Departamento FlorestalUniversidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto DouroVila RealPortugal
  2. 2.Parque Nacional da Peneda-GerêsQuinta das Parretas-RodoviaBragaPortugal

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