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Title: Ecology of capercaillie within a managed pine forest
Author: Canham, Lois
ISNI:       0000 0004 2684 4068
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2009
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The capercaillie is a rare species of forest bird which is once again facing extinction in Britain. Working pine forests are thought to represent the future for capercaillie in Scotland. However, few studies have focused on capercaillie within working forests and as a result current management recommendations are based on studies conducted within semi-natural pinewoods. Therefore study of the ecology of capercaillie within working forests is vital for the survival of the species in Scotland. The present study investigated the ecology of capercaillie, based on indirect measures of capercaillie use, within Morangie Forest, a pine plantation managed by the Forestry Commission. Monthly dropping counts were collected over a 30 month period to gain insight into the capercaillie population at Morangie Forest, and to explore the use of faecal counts as a non-invasive monitoring tool. Habitat analysis, dietary analysis of droppings and genetic analysis of feathers were further conducted to fully explore ecology of capercaillie within Morangie Forest. Results showed that the capercaillie population in Morangie Forest was subject to seasonal movements and that movements were not confined to the bounds of the forest. Substantial mixing occurred with capercaillie from neighbouring Novar Forest. In addition, capercaillie within Morangie Forest selected habitat at a radius of 50m and beyond. The population of capercaillie at Morangie Forest was estimated at around 65 individuals based on measures from dropping counts and genetic determination of individuals from feathers. Results also suggested that winter dropping counts could represent a useful tool for forest managers to monitor the size and movement of capercaillie populations frequenting their forests. In addition winter dropping counts could be used in conjunction with habitat data to plan management of habitat for capercaillie. The present study contributes towards future management strategies for the conservation of capercaillie within working forests and suggests further research priorities for capercaillie in Scotland, particularly those focused at a landscape scale.
Supervisor: Winterbottom, Sandra J. ; Quine, C. P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: capercaillie ; pine forests ; Western capercaillie ; Forest management Scotland ; Forest ecology ; Endangered species Scotland ; Forests and forestry Scotland