Predation on artificial nests in a forest dominated landscape – the effects of nest type, patch size and edge structure

Authors

  • Esa Huhta,

    1. E. Huhta (ehuhta@oulu.fi), Dept of Biology, Univ. of Oulu. FIN –90570 Oulu, Finland, – J. Jokimäki, Artic Centre, Univ. of Lapland, P.O. Box 123, FIN–96301 Rovaniemi, Finland (present address: The Finnish Forest Research Inst., Rovaniemi Research Station, P.O. Box 16, FlN–96301 Rovaniemi, Finland). P. Helle. Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Inst., Meltaus Game Research Station, FIN–90730 Meltaus, Finland
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  • Jukka Jokimäki,

    1. E. Huhta (ehuhta@oulu.fi), Dept of Biology, Univ. of Oulu. FIN –90570 Oulu, Finland, – J. Jokimäki, Artic Centre, Univ. of Lapland, P.O. Box 123, FIN–96301 Rovaniemi, Finland (present address: The Finnish Forest Research Inst., Rovaniemi Research Station, P.O. Box 16, FlN–96301 Rovaniemi, Finland). P. Helle. Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Inst., Meltaus Game Research Station, FIN–90730 Meltaus, Finland
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  • Pekka Helle

    1. E. Huhta (ehuhta@oulu.fi), Dept of Biology, Univ. of Oulu. FIN –90570 Oulu, Finland, – J. Jokimäki, Artic Centre, Univ. of Lapland, P.O. Box 123, FIN–96301 Rovaniemi, Finland (present address: The Finnish Forest Research Inst., Rovaniemi Research Station, P.O. Box 16, FlN–96301 Rovaniemi, Finland). P. Helle. Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Inst., Meltaus Game Research Station, FIN–90730 Meltaus, Finland
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Abstract

We studied the effects of forest patch size and forest edge structure on nest predation in a boreal coniferous forest landscape. The following predictions were tested. Nest predation should be higher in small than in large stands, in edges than in interior areas of forest stands, and in barren forest/clear–cut edges created by forestry than in natural forest/open marsh edges. Four types of artificial above ground nests (total of 261) were used; open cup nests with reindeer Rangifer t. tarandus hair, open cup nests with domestic hen Gallus domesticus feathers, and unlined open cup and nest–box nests. Nests were baited with one Japanese quail Coturnix coturnix japonica egg. Nest–boxes were depredated significantly less than open cup nests of all types. No edge- or stand size–related nest predation was found. The predation rate, regardless of the nest type, did not differ relative to the edge type and vegetation characteristics. However, better horizontal visibility of open cup nests due to more open vegetation structure increased predation risk in man–made edges compared to inherent edges. The results suggest that edge–related nest predation is absent or weak in forest dominated landscapes. This may be due to predator types present in the landscape and/or predators habitat use in forest dominated areas. Therefore, it might be that findings documented in other areas, such as in agricultural dominated landscapes, cannot be directly applied to managed forest landscapes.

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