Reintroducing capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) into southern Scotland: identification of minimum viable populations at potential release sites
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 7, Number 3, 1998 , pp. 275-296(22)
Abstract:Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) populations are declining in western parts of their range, including Scotland. It has been proposed that their numbers, and the extent of their range in Scotland be increased to reduce the risk of a second extinction in the UK. The feasibility of a reintroduction of capercaillie to coniferous plantations in southern Scotland was assessed by undertaking a population viability analysis. Following a review of capercaillie ecology and habitat requirements, VORTEX population simulation software was used to identify a minimum viable population (MVP). From this the minimum dynamic area of suitable habitat required in order to support such a MVP was then calculated. It was estimated that a minimum of 60 individuals would be required in approximately 5000ha of habitat in order for the population to have a >0.95 probability of surviving for 50 years. Supplementation of populations with two unrelated individuals every five years reduced the MVP to ten individuals. Further simulations were run in order to establish the sensitivity of the model to changes in three key parameters. Assessment of areas of suitable habitat identified two potential release sites, Wauchope and Newcastleton forests, in southern Scotland. Some practical considerations relating to management of a release population are outlined. It was concluded that an appropriately planned and resourced reintroduction was feasible.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: 1: Institute of Ecology and Resource Management, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JG, Scotland, UK 2: Rural Resource Management Department, Scottish Agricultural College, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JG, Scotland, UK
Publication date: 1998-01-01