Walczak, Ł., Kosiński, Z. and Stachura-Skierczyńska, K. 2013. Factors Affecting the Occurrence of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers Revealed by Forest Inventory Data. Baltic Forestry 19(1): 81 - 88

We examined the habitat selection of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker in the approximate home range scale, using a range of environmental predictors based on a forest inventory database. Our goal was to assess usefulness of the quantitative inventory data in modelling of species’ distribution for conservation and management purposes. We used 128 woodpecker location points found in pre-breeding season and the same number of randomly selected absence points to describe habitat preferences. For each natural and random location we obtained several environmental characteristics, including forest type, stand age, share of individual tree species in the canopy layer and the complexity of stand structure. The redundancy analysis revealed significant differences between occupied and random locations, with just five variables explaining 89% of total variance in the dataset. The share of oak was the most important predictor of the presence of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers. Areas occupied by birds were characterized by the presence of mature, unevenly structured stands, with trees of different ages present in canopy layer. Moreover, riparian woodland and stands dominated by elms were also preferred. These results confirm the general pattern of habitat selection by Middle Spotted Woodpeckers. Our results provide the evidence that databases designed for the management of timber production can serve as a useful source of ecologically-oriented habitat characteristics for habitat modelling of specialized and demanding forest dwelling species.

Key words: habitat selection, forest management, riverine forests, Middle Spotted Woodpecker