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Capercaillie monitoring in the Bavarian Alps

In a long-term study in a model area in the Chiemgau region of the Bavarian Alps, Germany, a local capercaillie population is monitored based on indirect signs such as molted feathers, feces, and dustbaths. Since 1990, and then annually since 1997, we map indirect signs at a set of a regular grid of 500 sample points in a 2000 ha study area. Results provide an index of the relative size of the population, and reveals measures of populaiton trends as well as habitat preferences and spatial distribution. At 5 year intervals, capercaillie habitat is assessed based on a habitat suitability index (HSI) model.

This is the only area of the Bavarian Alps where capercaillie are monitored using standardized methodology. Data show that at longer time scales, the population is largely dependent on silvicultural paractices. These long-term trends are superimposed by short-term fluctuations due to weather conditions in spring.  The project will be continued.

Project leader
Ilse Storch 
Funding AuerBräu Rosenheim
Duration since 1991 


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