Applying remotely sensed habitat descriptors to assist reintroduction programs: A case study in the hazel dormouse

Cartledge, Emma L, Baker, Melanie, White, Ian, Powell, Andrea, Gregory, Ben, Varley, Martin, Hurst, Jane L ORCID: 0000-0002-3728-9624 and Stockley, Paula
(2021) Applying remotely sensed habitat descriptors to assist reintroduction programs: A case study in the hazel dormouse. CONSERVATION SCIENCE AND PRACTICE, 3 (12).

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<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>For reintroduction programs to succeed, it is vital to identify suitable release sites. This is especially true for low dispersing habitat specialists, which are at particular risk from habitat fragmentation. The habitat specialist <jats:italic>Muscardinus avellanarius</jats:italic> (hazel dormouse) is part of a large‐scale reintroduction program in the UK. The program began in 1993 and has so far had varying levels of long‐term success across 24 sites. Although the causes of population persistence at reintroduction sites are not well understood, continued habitat suitability is hypothesized to play an important role. Here, we establish broad‐scale habitat descriptors associated with the current distribution of natural hazel dormouse populations in England, using ecological niche factor analysis and remotely sensed, open‐source maps. We also apply generalized linear mixed effects models to long‐term monitoring data for reintroduced hazel dormouse populations, revealing that broad‐scale habitat factors strongly influence the number of animals present in nest boxes. To aid conservation practitioners in future site selection, we illustrate the practical application of habitat suitability mapping to help prioritize the most appropriate woodlands for future hazel dormouse reintroductions, using the county of Cheshire as an example. Although demonstrated here for the hazel dormouse, this approach to reintroduction site selection could be beneficial to a broad range of species.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: CENFA, GIS, habitat suitability analysis, hazel dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius, population analysis, reintroduction, species distribution models
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2021 07:33
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2023 15:10
DOI: 10.1111/csp2.544
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