Replication data for: Hazel dormouse in managed woodland select for young, dense, and species-rich tree stands
Datasets used in Mortensen et al. 2022, "Hazel dormouse in managed woodland select for young, dense, and species-rich tree stands", Forest Ecology and Management, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2022.120348. In the paper, we studied the habitat selection in hazel dormouse at two spatial scales and investigated differences in individuals' habitat selection within home ranges.
In fragmented forest landscapes, population persistence of arboreal species with limited dispersal ability may strongly depend on the quality of the remaining forest habitat. Using the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) as a model species, we studied habitat selection at two spatial scales (home range and within home range) in intensely managed woodlands at its northern distributional range in Denmark. We modelled selection at home range level as the conditional probability of occupancy of 588 nest boxes and nest tubes in 15 managed forests relative to habitat variables measured within 25 m radius. Habitat selection within home ranges was modelled by comparing habitat variables within 3 m radius of triangulated locations by 19 radio-tracked individuals (12 M, 7 F) when active at night with regularly distributed available locations within their home ranges.
At both spatial scales, hazel dormice strongly selected sites with high abundance-weighted species richness and high vegetation density of woody plants. On home range level, they furthermore selected for young tree vegetation, while they within home ranges selected for intermediate aged tree stands (maximum trunk circumference: 1.50 m). The predicted probability of presence in nest boxes or nest tubes varied from less than 1% to more than 99% as a combined function of three habitat variables. From May to October, selection for abundance-weighted species richness of woody plants of radio-tagged individuals decreased with date and body weight, suggesting that a diverse food base is particularly important early in their season of activity and for lean and small (growing) individuals. Selection for dense vegetation increased with body mass and mean available vegetation density within home ranges, indicating behavioural variability related to changes in energy expenditure and need for safety among individuals.
The study demonstrates that the hazel dormouse has specific habitat requirements related to food and safety that can be accommodated with relatively simple means in managed forests.