Spatial ecology of the three-toed woodpecker in managed forest landscapes
The effects of landscape structure and forestry on the abundance and dynamics of boreal forest bird species have been studied widely, but there are relatively few studies in which the spatial structure and quality of the landscape have been related to the spatial ecology of bird species. In this paper, we present methods to measure territory and landscape quality for the three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) and similar territorial forest bird species based on data from the Finnish multi-source national forest inventory and metapopulation theory. The three-toed woodpecker was studied with territory mapping within an area of 340 square km in southern Finland in 1987–2000. Altogether 195 breeding territory sites were observed. The spatial occurrence of the territories was aggregated, and the highest densities were observed in spruce-dominated old-growth forest areas. Both territory and landscape quality had significant consequences for the occurrence of the three-toed woodpecker. The spatial patterning and permanence of breeding and non-breeding territories were influenced by a combination of spatial dynamics of the species and the quality of the landscape, the latter being much influenced by forestry. The landscape-level spatial occurrence of the three-toed woodpecker in the study area may represent source-sink dynamics. The results of this paper suggest the presence of threshold values at different spatial scales, which may determine the occurrence of the three-toed woodpecker and similar species in managed forest landscapes.
Received 20 November 2000 Accepted 28 January 2002 Published 31 December 2002