Conservation and Management of Forest Wildlife

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 June 2024 | Viewed by 6971

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Mammalian Ecology, Nature Research Centre, Akademijos 2, 08412 Vilnius, Lithuania
Interests: hoofed, semi-aquatic, carnivore and small mammal ecology; threatened and invasive mammal species; large carnivores; spatial distribution; population management and computer modeling; biodiversity and ecological diversity
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As shown in M.L. Hunter (Jr.)'s seminal book Wildlife, Forests and Forestry: Principles of Managing Forests for Biodiversity, published in 1990, and Forest Wildlife Management and Conservation, by D. B. Lindenmayer, published in 2009, forests are essential habitats for biodiversity. Understanding forest wildlife ecology is key to the successful conservation and management of species and communities, balancing conservation, human interests, wildlife use and wildlife appreciation. Any forest management action can affect the availability and quality of resources for forest wildlife populations, and scientific knowledge will therefore improve wildlife management and conservation strategies.

This Special Issue aims to gather articles and reviews on the following topics:

  • The conservation and management of forest wildlife (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrate species and communities);
  • Forest as a wildlife habitat (fragmentation, degradation, specialized species);
  • Changes in afforestation in relation to wildlife;
  • The monitoring of forest fauna and flora (long-term results are desirable);
  • Human conflicts with forest fauna and increasing wildlife acceptance;
  • The impact of climate change, forestry activities, hunting and other factors on forest species and communities.

Dr. Linas Balčiauskas
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • forest wildlife
  • conservation
  • management
  • conflict analysis
  • wildlife acceptance
  • influencing factors

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 3022 KiB  
Article
Spatial Conservation Prioritization of Persian Squirrel Based on Habitat Suitability and Climate-Induced Forest Mortality Risk
by Omid Ghadirian Baharanchi, Mahmoud-Reza Hemami and Rasoul Yousefpour
Forests 2024, 15(2), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/f15020290 - 03 Feb 2024
Viewed by 858
Abstract
The Zagros forests in Iran are currently experiencing an exacerbation of climate-induced mortality, placing the Persian squirrel, a keystone species reliant on these ecosystems, in jeopardy. Addressing this imminent threat, our research employed a spatial prioritization methodology, integrating assessments of habitat suitability and [...] Read more.
The Zagros forests in Iran are currently experiencing an exacerbation of climate-induced mortality, placing the Persian squirrel, a keystone species reliant on these ecosystems, in jeopardy. Addressing this imminent threat, our research employed a spatial prioritization methodology, integrating assessments of habitat suitability and mortality risk. Utilizing a weighted ensemble approach, incorporating the strengths of diverse models and expert rules, we discerned that approximately 62% of surveyed forests are at risk, with 7% classified as high risk and 17% as very high risk. Notably, 83% of the forests exhibited varying degrees of habitat suitability, with 11% and 12% demonstrating high and very high suitability, respectively. Employing a conservation prioritization framework, we systematically categorized habitats into priority classes, with 8%, 17%, 29%, and 46% assigned to very high, high, moderate, and low conservation priority classes, respectively. Significantly, areas classified as very high priority demand immediate restoration efforts due to ongoing mortality, while other priority classes underscore the importance of protection and prevention in unaffected habitats. Acknowledging the irreversible nature of current climatic conditions in the Zagros forests, our strategic emphasis aligns with conservation triage principles, prioritizing the preservation of intact habitats yet to succumb to irreversible mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation and Management of Forest Wildlife)
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17 pages, 6513 KiB  
Article
First Report on a Cliff-Nesting Pair of Black Storks (Ciconia nigra Linnaeus, 1758) and Their Nestlings
by Pierangelo Freschi, Carlo Cosentino, Fabio Napolitano, Corrado Pacelli, Danilo Manicone, Egidio Mallia, Marco Ragni, Rosanna Paolino and Ada Braghieri
Forests 2023, 14(10), 1941; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14101941 - 24 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1212
Abstract
The black stork is an endangered species in many countries, due to its low adaptability to environmental changes and its sensitivity to anthropogenic disturbances. In Italy, the most recent report on the species’ nesting sites lists only 36 pairs, of which 16 are [...] Read more.
The black stork is an endangered species in many countries, due to its low adaptability to environmental changes and its sensitivity to anthropogenic disturbances. In Italy, the most recent report on the species’ nesting sites lists only 36 pairs, of which 16 are in Basilicata, 7 are in Calabria, 4 are in Piedmont and Molise and 1 is in Campania. This study focuses for the first time on the behavior of a Ciconia nigra pair in the Basilicata region, where the species nests exclusively on cliffs rather than in trees, as is more frequent elsewhere. The video recordings were used to observe the species during the pre- and post-hatching periods and to refer to the 2012 nesting season, as in that year, the video recordings covered the entire reproductive period. In the pre-hatching phase, the activity for which most time is spent is brooding, which lasts on average 43′ in the morning and in evening and more than 49′ at midday. In the post-hatching phase, a large part of the recording period is spent on activities related to parental care. There were no moments of inactivity during this phase, the parents were frequently observed setting up the nest and preening themselves, while they were rarely seen in a huddled position. The alert activity was also very frequent, especially at midday. Our study has shown that the black stork, a shy and cautious species, may return to nest in increasing numbers given the development of the promising Lucanian nucleus, if attention is paid to the habitat quality and feeding areas, where human activities should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation and Management of Forest Wildlife)
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12 pages, 2261 KiB  
Article
The Distribution and Activity of the Invasive Raccoon Dog in Lithuania as Found with Country-Wide Camera Trapping
by Marius Jasiulionis, Vitalijus Stirkė and Linas Balčiauskas
Forests 2023, 14(7), 1328; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14071328 - 28 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1005
Abstract
The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides Gray, 1834) is an invasive mammal widespread in northern, eastern, and central Europe, where it damages biodiversity and carries a wide range of pathogens. Surveys of this species in Lithuania ceased before 2000, so there is a [...] Read more.
The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides Gray, 1834) is an invasive mammal widespread in northern, eastern, and central Europe, where it damages biodiversity and carries a wide range of pathogens. Surveys of this species in Lithuania ceased before 2000, so there is a lack of scientific information on its distribution and relative abundance. In 2019–2022, we carried out a nationwide recording of raccoon dogs using camera traps (101 sites, sampling effort of 15,563 trapping days). The species was found at 64 sites (63.4% of the sites surveyed), with an average relative shooting frequency of 4.30 photographs per 100 days. The frequency of raccoon dogs was higher at camera sites where lynx (Lynx lynx Linnaeus, 1758) or wolves (Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758) were recorded compared to sites where predators were absent (7.95 vs. 3.21 photos/100 days, p < 0.05). The highest raccoon dog activity (69.5% of records) was observed at night and at temperatures between −3 and +5 °C. Below −15 °C, animals were not active, while above 25 °C, there was very little activity. Diurnal activity (36.1% of daytime records in April–June) increased during estrus, gestation, and rearing of pups. We conclude that wide-scale camera trapping is a suitable method for raccoon dog surveys. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation and Management of Forest Wildlife)
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17 pages, 23969 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Roadkill on Cervid Populations in Lithuania
by Linas Balčiauskas, Andrius Kučas and Laima Balčiauskienė
Forests 2023, 14(6), 1224; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14061224 - 13 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3184
Abstract
Cervid roadkill, including moose, red deer and roe deer, can pose a risk to drivers and are frequently registered. However, the roadkill influence on overall cervid populations is not fully known, especially by roadkill that are not officially registered. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Cervid roadkill, including moose, red deer and roe deer, can pose a risk to drivers and are frequently registered. However, the roadkill influence on overall cervid populations is not fully known, especially by roadkill that are not officially registered. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of cervid roadkill on population abundance, evaluating (i) the proportion of ungulate–vehicle collisions not registered by official bodies, (ii) the number of roadkill in relation to hunted animals and (iii) the proportion of roadkill that occurs in forest habitat. The number of unreported roadkill was calculated based on a roadkill index assessed during 3815 registration sessions on main and national roads in Lithuania from 2002–2022. During this period, 373 moose, 712 red deer and 9179 roe deer roadkill were unreported, correlating to 13.8%, 95.8% and 31.1% of those registered by the Traffic Supervision Service. In conclusion, 39.5%, 17.5% and 20.1% of roadkill were registered on roads through forests. Moose roadkill amounted to a figure corresponding to 10% of those hunted, with the same figure for red deer being 1.8%, neither adding much mortality. At 16.5%–16.6%, the figure for roe deer might be important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation and Management of Forest Wildlife)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Comparison of Two Survey Methods of Demographic Structure in Cervid Populations Suggests Opportunities for Prediction of Increasing Forest Damages – A Case Study in Latvia
Authors: Gundega Done; Jānis Ozoliņš; Guna Bagrade; Jurģis Jansons; Jānis Baumanis; Alekss Vecvanags; Dainis Jakovels
Affiliation: Latvian State Forest Research Institute ‘Silava’, Riga street 111, Salaspils, LV-2169, Latvia Institute for Environmental Solutions ‘Lidlauks’, Cēsis, LV-4126, Latvia
Abstract: The overall increase of ungulate populations in modern Europe has also contributed to conflicts in national economies, particularly between game management and the forestry sector. A two-level spatial scale study was launched to identify signs of increasing damage risk to young pine stands – one for assessing the interaction between sex-age structure of cervid population, measured as the pellet group density, and forest damages, measured as the percentage of heavily browsed trees in 1006 pine stands distributed evenly throughout the country, and the second for comparison between pellet count and trail-camera-based records of moose and red deer presence in a pilot study area. We examined whether 1) there is a correlation between damage amount and ungulate population structure and 2) are the data from trail cameras suitable for wider use in monitoring ungulate population structure. The study confirmed that pine damages were significantly higher in stands with higher moose pellet group density regardless sex or age, but in red deer populations, a significant predominance of females and juveniles was found in the most highly damaged stands. There were no statistically significant differences between the two survey methods in the pilot territory of ungulate population structure by using pellet count transects and trail camera fixations, thus both pellet group counts and trail cameras provide comparable data on sex and age structure in moose and red deer populations, however, trail cameras are more widely applicable and easier to use by hunters than pellet counts.

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