Remotely Sensed Single Tree Data Enable the Determination of Habitat Thresholds for the Three-Toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus)

Zielewska-Büttner, Katarzyna; Heurich, Marco; Müller, Jörg; Braunisch, Veronika (2018). Remotely Sensed Single Tree Data Enable the Determination of Habitat Thresholds for the Three-Toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus). Remote sensing, 10(12), p. 1972. Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI 10.3390/rs10121972

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Forest biodiversity conservation requires precise, area-wide information on the abundance and distribution of key habitat structures at multiple spatial scales. We combined airborne laser scanning (ALS) data with color-infrared (CIR) aerial imagery for identifying individual tree characteristics and quantifying multi-scale habitat requirements using the example of the three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) (TTW) in the Bavarian Forest National Park (Germany). This bird, a keystone species of boreal and mountainous forests, is highly reliant on bark beetles dwelling in dead or dying trees. While previous studies showed a positive relationship between the TTW presence and the amount of deadwood as a limiting resource, we hypothesized a unimodal response with a negative effect of very high deadwood amounts and tested for effects of substrate quality. Based on 104 woodpecker presence or absence locations, habitat selection was modelled at four spatial scales reflecting different woodpecker home range sizes. The abundance of standing dead trees was the most important predictor, with an increase in the probability of TTW occurrence up to a threshold of 44–50 dead trees per hectare, followed by a decrease in the probability of occurrence. A positive relationship with the deadwood crown size indicated the importance of fresh deadwood. Remote sensing data allowed both an area-wide prediction of species occurrence and the derivation of ecological threshold values for deadwood quality and quantity for more informed conservation management.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Braunisch, Veronika


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)




Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI




Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2019 08:58

Last Modified:

05 Sep 2020 20:52

Publisher DOI:





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