Are habitat loss, predation risk and climate related to the drastic decline in a Siberian flying squirrel population? A 15 year study
Koskimäki, J., Huitu, O., Kotiaho, J., Lampila, S., Mäkelä, A., Sulkava, R., & Mönkkönen, M. (2014). Are habitat loss, predation risk and climate related to the drastic decline in a Siberian flying squirrel population? A 15 year study. Population Ecology, 56 (2), 341-348. doi:10.1007/s10144-013-0411-4 Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10144-013-0411-4
Published inPopulation Ecology
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologia
© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer Japan 2013. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the journal Population Ecology by Springer.
To devise effective conservation actions, it is important to know which factors are associated with the population parameters of a declining population. Using mark–recapture methods, we estimated the annual population size, growth rate and survival probability of an ear-tagged flying squirrel population over a 15-year period in a 4,500 ha study area in western Finland. The species is considered vulnerable, but detailed knowledge concerning population sizes or trends is lacking. The population parameters and changes therein were regressed against habitat availability, an indicator of predation pressure, and mean winter temperature (an indicator of climate change), to reveal potential reasons for trends in the population. The best-fit models suggested the annual growth rate to be below one, and on average it was 0.93 (±0.06; SE) across the 15-year period. The survival probability was about 0.22 (±0.03) for juveniles and 0.50 (±0.03) for adults. The population size of adult flying squirrels decreased from 65 (±11) individuals in 1995 to 29 (±6) individuals in 2009. The number of flying squirrels was associated with the amount of available habitat, but the decline in population size was more rapid than the loss of habitat area. If the current decreasing trend in habitat availability continues, the population might become extinct by the year 2020. To halt the population decline, it is necessary to refrain from clear-cutting mature spruce stands until new suitable habitats develop from the maturation of younger forests. ...