Browsing by Subject "HUMAN DISTURBANCE"

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  • Moen, Gro Kvelprud; Ordiz, Andres; Kindberg, Jonas; Swenson, Jon E.; Sundell, Janne; Stoen, Ole-Gunnar (2019)
    Human disturbance causes behavioral responses in wildlife, including large carnivores. Previous research in Scandinavia has documented that brown bears (Ursus arctos) show a variety of behavioral reactions to different human activities. We investigated how proximity to human settlements and roads, as proxies of human influence, affected brown bears' reactions to encountering humans. We analyzed experimental approaches to GPS collared bears, 18 males and 23 single females, in Sweden (n = 148 approaches) and Finland (n = 33), conducted between 2004 and 2012. The bears in Finland inhabited areas with higher human density compared to Sweden. However, the proportion of bears staying or moving when approached and the flight initiation distances were similar in both countries. In Sweden, the flight responses were not dependent on human densities or roads inside the bears' home ranges or the distances from the bears to roads and settlements. Brown bears in Fennoscandia live in areas with relatively low human population densities, but in many areas with high forestry road densities. Our results show that bears' flight reactions were consistent between areas, which is an important message for management, reinforcing previous studies that have documented human avoidance by bears at different spatial and temporal scales.
  • Kuussaari, Mikko; Toivonen, Marjaana; Heliola, Janne; Poyry, Juha; Mellado, Jorge; Ekroos, Johan; Hyyrylainen, Vesa; Vähä-Piikkiö, Inkeri; Tiainen, Juha (2021)
    Good knowledge on how increasing urbanization affects biodiversity is essential in order to preserve biodiversity in urban green spaces. We examined how urban development affects species richness and total abundance of butterflies as well as the occurrence and abundance of individual species within the Helsinki metropolitan area in Northern Europe. Repeated butterfly counts in 167 separate 1-km-long transects within Helsinki covered the entire urbanization gradient, quantified by human population density and the proportion of built-up area (within a 50-m buffer surrounding each butterfly transect). We found consistently negative effects of both human population density and built-up area on all studied butterfly variables, though butterflies responded markedly more negatively to increasing human population density than to built-up area. Responses in butterfly species richness and total abundance showed higher variability in relation to proportion of built-up area than to human density, especially in areas of high human density. Increasing human density negatively affected both the abundance and the occurrence of 47% of the 19 most abundant species, whereas, for the proportion of built-up area, the corresponding percentages were 32% and 32%, respectively. Species with high habitat specificity and low mobility showed higher sensitivity to urbanization (especially high human population density) than habitat generalists and mobile species that dominated the urban butterfly communities. Our results suggest that human population density provides a better indicator of urbanization effects on butterflies compared to the proportion of built-up area. The generality of this finding should be verified in other contexts and taxonomic groups.
  • Rosti, Hanna; Heiskanen, Janne; Loehr, John; Pihlström, Henry; Bearder, Simon; Mwangala, Lucas; Maghenda, Marianne; Pellikka, Petri; Rikkinen, Jouko (2022)
    We studied a previously almost unknown nocturnal mammal, an apparently undescribed species of tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax sp.) in the moist montane forests of Taita Hills, Kenya. We used thermal imaging to locate tree hyraxes, observe their behavior, and to identify woody plants most frequently visited by the selective browsers. We also documented acoustic behavior in forest fragments of different sizes. Data on calling type and frequency were analyzed together with lidar data to estimate population densities and to identify forest stand characteristics associated with large populations. Viable populations were found only in the largest forest fragments (> 90 ha), where tree hyraxes preferred most pristine forest stands with high, multilayered canopies. The estimated population sizes in smaller forest fragments were very limited, and hyraxes were heard to call only during late night and early morning hours, presumably in order to avoid detection. While we frequently recorded tree hyrax songs in the largest forest fragments, we almost never heard songs in the small ones. All remaining subpopulations of the Taita tree hyrax are under threat of human disturbance and further habitat deterioration. Conservation efforts should include protection of all remaining habitat patches, but also reforestation of former habitat is urgently needed.