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Hoarding habitat selection of squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in Liangshui Nature Reserve, China

Acta Ecologica Sinica
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s1872-2032(06)60053-x
  • Squirrel
  • Korean Pine Seed
  • Hoarding Behavior
  • Habitat Selection
  • Microhabitat Utilization


Abstract This study was conducted during October 2003–April 2004 in the Liangshui National Nature Reserve of the Xiao Xing'an Mountains of Northeast China. Results showed that hoarding behavior of squirrels exhibited selectivity. The preference order of hoarding habitat selection of squirrels is as follows: original Korean pine forest, secondary natural fir forest, artificial fir forest, mix-conifer leaf forest, artificial fallen leaves pine forest, mix-conifer-broadleaf forest, mix-broadleaf forest birch forest, and artificial Korean pine forest. Compared with the existing results, using the cache spots as an index, the order of habitat selection changed, revealing that this research should include more factors, such as pilferage from other animals and secondary dispersal by the squirrels or other species. The Vanderploeg and Scavia selectivity indexes, Wi and Ei, were used to evaluate the use of microhabitat by squirrels in the original Korean pine forest. Results indicated that the squirrels exhibited a significant microhabitat utilization pattern: (1) Squirrels prefer to use the microhabitat in original Korean pine forest with high canopies, the medium shrubby density, and the medium stub density, where pilferage animals are few ( Ei > 0.2); (2) Squirrels did not prefer to use the microhabitat in the original Korean pine forest with a low slope degree, high density of fallen logs and stumps, a high herbage coverage, and an abundance of pilferage animals ( Ei < −0.2), and they showed an aversion for a shaded slope ( Ei = −0.5368). The selectivity of microhabitat utilization for the hoarding behavior of squirrels plays an important role in determining the spatial pattern of Korean pine seedlings.

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