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Corridor vs. hayfield matrix use by mammalian predators in an agricultural landscape

Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment


Corridors are assumed to be an efficient conservation tool for reducing changes in local biodiversity induced by fragmentation and loss of natural habitats. The importance of corridors for the management of local biota has been previously demonstrated for a few single species; however, there has been little research on this topic for groups of animals, such as mammalian carnivores. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that linear strips (2-12 m wide) of shrubby vegetation and dense high grass are more likely to be exploited by diverse carnivore species than surrounding hayfields. For this purpose a scent station survey was employed. Scent stations placed in linear landscape structures were visited much more frequently than scent stations placed in the surrounding hayfield matrix. The probability of detection was higher in corridors than in the landscape matrix for all carnivore species detected. In addition, we tested if the use of a corridor by carnivores was influenced by the amount of shrub and tree cover and corridor width, but none of these variables affected the probability of carnivore detection. Our study suggests that the maintenance of corridors could be an efficient management practice for the preservation of carnivore populations in agricultural landscapes. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author(s): Salek, M; Kreisinger, J; Sedlacek, F; Albrecht, T

Journal: Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment

Year: 2009