Strauß, E., D. Tost, C. Ratsch, J. Kulow, C. Stolter, S. Wormanns & U. Siebert
Bestandsentwicklung und Nahrungsökologie des Birkhuhns Tetrao tetrix in Niedersachsen
(von 1994 bis 2006 vergeben)
Bestandsentwicklung, Bestandsgrösse, Trend, Verbreitung, Lebensraum, Truppenübungsplatz, Schutzmassnahmen, Aktionsplan, Besucherlenkung, Prädatorenmanagement, Artenförderung, Nahrungsökologie, Kotanalysen, Nahrung
Lüneburger Heide, Niedersachsen, Deutschland
Population trend and diet of Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix in Lower Saxony, Germany. In northern Central Europe the populations of Black Grouse have been affected by severe decreases in population size for decades and many populations have become extinct in the last few years. In the North German Plains only one population, which is fragmented into five major subpopulations, remains in the natural region «Lüneburg Heath» (Lower Saxony). With 142 individuals, it dropped to its minimum value in spring 1999. Until 2011 it grew to 261 individuals and decreased again to 168 counted individuals in 2017. The five core areas (1300 to 8600 ha) mainly consist of open heathland. They are surrounded by intensively managed farmland and forests. Distances between core areas range from 7 to 15 km. Despite the intensive landscape management, the Lower Saxon population of Black Grouse could not be stabilised yet. Within a research project (2011–2014) the diet of the local subpopulation was determined via microscopic-histological analysis of feces, and potential habitats were evaluated according to their suitability. The herbal main diet consists of heather Calluna vulgaris and blueberry Vaccinium myrtillus. Further species of dwarf shrubs such as crowberry Empetrum nigrum and cross-leaved heather Erica tetralix are seasonally preferred or of minor importance throughout the whole year. Higher amounts of birch catkins and pine needles were found only in spring. The metapopulation of Lower Saxon Black Grouse benefits from the widespread heathlands, which are intensively used for tourism and military training and require a customised habitat management. Effective predator management and intensified genetic exchange should support the long-term conservation of the subpopulations. Region-specific management measures need to be optimised based on research results and to be cumulated in a binding «Action Plan Black Grouse» involving all stakeholders.
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