Assessing the suitability of central European landscapes for the reintroduction of Eurasian lynx

Authors

  • Stephanie Schadt,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ Centre for Environmental Research, Permoser Str. 15, D-04318 Leipzig, Germany;
    2. Department für Ökologie, Lehrstuhl für Landschaftsökologie, Technische Universität München, Am Hochanger 6, D-85350 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Eloy Revilla,

    1. Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ Centre for Environmental Research, Permoser Str. 15, D-04318 Leipzig, Germany;
    2. Department of Applied Biology, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Avenida María Luisa s/n, E-41013 Sevilla, Spain;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Thorsten Wiegand,

    1. Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ Centre for Environmental Research, Permoser Str. 15, D-04318 Leipzig, Germany;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Felix Knauer,

    1. Wildlife Research and Management Unit, Faculty of Forest Sciences, Technische Universität Munich, Field Research Station Linderhof, Linderhof 2, D-82488 Ettal, Germany;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Petra Kaczensky,

    1. Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, Agricultural University of Vienna, Peter-Jordan-Str. 76, A-1190 Vienna, Austria;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Urs Breitenmoser,

    1. Institute of Veterinary Virology, University of Bern, Länggass-Str. 122, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Luděk Bufka,

    1. Šumava National Park Administration, Sušická 399, CZ-34192 Kašperské Hory, Czech Republic;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jaroslav Červený,

    1. Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, CZ-60365 Brno, Czech Republic;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Petr Koubek,

    1. Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, CZ-60365 Brno, Czech Republic;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Thomas Huber,

    1. Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, Agricultural University of Vienna, Peter-Jordan-Str. 76, A-1190 Vienna, Austria;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Cvetko Staniša,

    1. State Forest Service, Slovenia, Rozna ul. 36, SLO-1330 Kocevje, Slovenia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ludwig Trepl

    1. Department für Ökologie, Lehrstuhl für Landschaftsökologie, Technische Universität München, Am Hochanger 6, D-85350 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany;
    Search for more papers by this author

S. Schadt, Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ Centre for Environmental Research, Permoser Str. 15, D-04318 Leipzig, Germany (fax + 49 341 235 3500; e-mail steph@oesa.ufz.de).

Summary

  • 1After an absence of almost 100 years, the Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx is slowly recovering in Germany along the German–Czech border. Additionally, many reintroduction schemes have been discussed, albeit controversially, for various locations. We present a habitat suitability model for lynx in Germany as a basis for further management and conservation efforts aimed at recolonization and population development.
  • 2We developed a statistical habitat model using logistic regression to quantify the factors that describe lynx home ranges in a fragmented landscape. As no data were available for lynx distribution in Germany, we used data from the Swiss Jura Mountains for model development and validated the habitat model with telemetry data from the Czech Republic and Slovenia. We derived several variables describing land use and fragmentation, also introducing variables that described the connectivity of forested and non-forested semi-natural areas on a larger scale than the map resolution.
  • 3We obtained a model with only one significant variable that described the connectivity of forested and non-forested semi-natural areas on a scale of about 80 km2. This result is biologically meaningful, reflecting the absence of intensive human land use on the scale of an average female lynx home range. Model testing at a cut-off level of P > 0·5 correctly classified more than 80% of the Czech and Slovenian telemetry location data of resident lynx. Application of the model to Germany showed that the most suitable habitats for lynx were large-forested low mountain ranges and the large forests in east Germany.
  • 4Our approach illustrates how information on habitat fragmentation on a large scale can be linked with local data to the potential benefit of lynx conservation in central Europe. Spatially explicit models like ours can form the basis for further assessing the population viability of species of conservation concern in suitable patches.

Ancillary