Forest classes and tree cover gradient: tick habitat in encroached areas of southern Norway
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Forest, in particular deciduous forest, is a key element in determining areas with a high probability of tick presence. The way forest is generally monitored may be ill suited to some landscapes where Ixodes ricinus is found, as forest is usually characterised using crisp land cover classes. However, tree vegetation can be found outside of forests and continuous gradations of tree density can be found in a variety of landscapes. In this paper we investigate the probability of tick presence in southern Norway using landscape description based both on land cover classes and continuous data describing the tree cover fraction. Both perspectives on the landscape are significant in the logistic model, indicating that the usual approach based solely on land cover classes may not be comprehensive enough in capturing tick habitat, and characterising the landscape with variables focused on single specific elements may be insufficient.
KeywordsIxodes ricinus Forest land cover Landscape structure Forest gradient
The research presented in this paper is funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office in the frame of the STEREOII programme—SR/10/162 (Bushtick). This study was partially funded by EU Grant FP7-261504 EDENext and is catalogued by the EDENext Steering Committee as EDENext363 (http://www.edenext.eu). The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission. The authors thank the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute for access to data from the Norwegian area frame survey of land cover and outfield land resources. The authors are grateful to Arnaud Adam for his valuable contribution during the field sampling of ticks.
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