Some ecological peculiarities of the Fat Dormouse (Glis glis Linnaeus, 1766) in Hyrcanian relict forests of Northern Iran
Keywords:Hyrcanian refugium, habitat affinities, forest ecosystems, Glis glis, conservation
Fat dormouse (Glis glis) is the only member of the Gliridae family in Iran. It passed interesting evolutionary history in the Hyrcanian old-growth forests as the easternmost part of its global distribution realm. Knowledge about the species’ ecology and biology is necessary to improve the conservation and management of relict forest habitats. Because of its strictly nocturnal activity, nearly all published papers and reports describe dormice habitat affinities based on artificial nest boxes’ installation. For the first time, we studied habitat associations of the Fat dormouse (Glis glis) along the ancient Hyrcanian forests of the southern Caspian Sea coast with the direct spotlighting method and measuring micro and macro habitat variables during its activity period. Our research was executed over four years from May 2014 to November 2017. Habitat variables were measured in the presence of circular plots and were compared by absence-paired plots. Our results indicated that the presence of feeding items especially berry and nut-producing plants as well as the connectivity of the tree’s canopy are the most essential factors in the species’ habitat selection. Logistic regression analysis could successfully distinguish the most important habitat variables that affect Fat dormouse habitat selection in the study area. With regards to the habitat requirements of the species, both in micro and macro habitat scales we can infer some conservational actions in such valuable and relict forest ecosystems.
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