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Lopez B.C.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Potrony D.,LUTRA Environmental Association | Lopez A.,LUTRA Environmental Association | Badosa E.,LUTRA Environmental Association | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Raptor Research

The Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) is a nocturnal forest-dwelling species widely distributed throughout the world. One of the least studied and most southerly populations of this species lives in the Pyrenees Mountains. This population, 500600 pairs, probably suffered a slight decline during recent decades due to forestry management practices. The use of nest boxes may become necessary to protect this species in southern Europe. The objective of this study was to establish a standard protocol for nest-box installation, based on the analysis of occupation rates of nest boxes installed during the last 20 yr and the comparison of reproductive data for nest boxes and natural nest cavities. Our results indicated that nest boxes should be installed at high elevations (above 2000 m asl), below 4 m aboveground, and preferably facing south or southeast. We also found that most territories are located where maximum July temperatures are <17°C, which suggests that increasing temperatures due to climate change may have a negative effect on this population. © 2010 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc. Source

Santos X.,University of Porto | Mateos E.,University of Barcelona | Bros V.,Parc Natural de Sant Llorenc del Munt i lObac | Brotons L.,Cemfor Ctfc Center Tecnologic Forestal Of Catalonia | And 13 more authors.

Fire is a major agent involved in landscape transformation and an indirect cause of changes in species composition. Responses to fire may vary greatly depending on life histories and functional traits of species. We have examined the taxonomic and functional responses to fire of eight taxonomic animal groups displaying a gradient of dietary and mobility patterns: Gastropoda, Heteroptera, Formicidae, Coleoptera, Araneae, Orthoptera, Reptilia and Aves. The fieldwork was conducted in a Mediterranean protected area on 3 sites (one unburnt and two burnt with different postfire management practices) with five replicates per site. We collected information from 4606 specimens from 274 animal species. Similarity in species composition and abundance between areas was measured by the Bray-Curtis index and ANOSIM, and comparisons between animal and plant responses by Mantel tests. We analyze whether groups with the highest percentage of omnivorous species, these species being more generalist in their dietary habits, show weak responses to fire (i.e. more similarity between burnt and unburnt areas), and independent responses to changes in vegetation. We also explore how mobility, i.e. dispersal ability, influences responses to fire. Our results demonstrate that differences in species composition and abundance between burnt and unburnt areas differed among groups. We found a tendency towards presenting lower differences between areas for groups with higher percentages of omnivorous species. Moreover, taxa with a higher percentage of omnivorous species had significantly more independent responses of changes in vegetation. High- (e.g. Aves) and low-mobility (e.g. Gastropoda) groups had the strongest responses to fire (higher R scores of the ANOSIM); however, we failed to find a significant general pattern with all the groups according to their mobility. Our results partially support the idea that functional traits underlie the response of organisms to environmental changes caused by fire. © 2014 Santos et al. Source

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