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Road crossing structure suitability for dispersal of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in the WesternHarz region, Germany

Road crossing structure suitability for dispersal of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in the WesternHarz region, Germany

Samenvatting

Fragmentation of the environment affects the dispersal of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx). This also occurs in the Harz region, in central Germany, where in 2000 the Luchsprojekt Harz started reintroducing the Eurasian lynx. This constantly growing population causes lynx dispersal including high traffic volume road crossings. The aim of this study was to estimate the most likely road crossing structures the lynx would have used for the road crossings of high traffic roads and by this to gain understanding in the lynx’ utilization of crossing structures. The study site was determined by the occurred lynx roadcrossing and mortality locations and included sections from different highways and motorways.Multiple structure characteristics were measured, which were established based on the lynx species ecology. The data analysis consisted of three parts, (i.)a least cost path (LCP) analysis to estimate themost likely route the lynx could have chosen to cross the road and two statistical analyses:(ii.)comparison of the differences in characteristics of the crossing structures expected to have been used by lynx and crossing structures available but not expected to have been used by lynx and (iii.) analysis of the lynx mortality sites’ crossing structures to define the characteristics. The results showed the calculated use of over passages and under passages at the crossing events. These results were contrary to the expectations of a high viaduct use by lynx. The predicted use of structures was higher in the areas where forest leads to the road and continued to the other side of the road, which confirms that cover connections between the crossing and the animal’s habitat improve the use of crossing structures. There were differences found in five structure characteristics between the expected and not expected structures to have been used by lynx. Contrary to the expectations,leading structures on both sides of the crossing structures were more present and the mean distanceto nearest hiding structure on one side of the structure was shorter at crossing structures which were not predicted to have been used by lynx. Distance to nearest forest was lower at the predicted used and not used road crossing structures. In addition, strong positive relation was found between the leading structures on each side of the structures. Furthermore, no indications on the crossing structure suitability were found from the mortality site data. As a conclusion, it is suggested that the lynx dispersal over high traffic roads in the Western Harz region is expected to utilize road crossing structures to some extent. However, some characteristics, such as the surrounding landscape, are considered to have a higher importance.

Toon meer
OrganisatieVan Hall Larenstein
InstituutDiermanagement
PartnersHogeschool Van Hall Larenstein
Nationalpark Harz
Gepubliceerd in
Jaar2014
TypeBachelorscriptie
TaalEngels

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