Conservation of priority forests and forest openings in "Ethnikos Drymos Oitis" and "Oros Kallidromo" of Sterea Ellada, LIFE11 NAT/GR/1014
Action A.9: Study of the population status of five Annex I Greek resident mountain bird species: Alectoris graeca, Dryocopus martius, Dendrocopos leucotos, Picus canus and Aegolius funereus
The action will take place within the SPA site GR2440007 "ETHNIKOS DRYMOS OITIS - KOILADA ASOPOU". This study aims to evaluate the population status of one game species Alectoris graeca, three woodpecker species, Dryocopus martius, Dendrocopos leucotos and Picus canus, and to verify the presence of the nocturnal raptor Aegolius funerus as well as to assess its population dynamics.
Furthermore, the study will produce the scientific and technical specifications necessary for the appropriate management actions and monitoring protocols. Additionally, information concerning forest practices and their effects on bird fauna will be collected, processed and used as a decision support tool for forest management.
The study will be carried out by an ornithologist, working for the project as a subcontractor, visiting appropriate habitats once a month for the 1.5 year study period, covering 2 reproductive seasons. During the period mid-March to end-May (when activity is at its peak because of mating and nesting), visits of the study area will take place every 15 days. Data will be collected by the line transect method, with emphasis on aural detection, as visual detection is not always easy in dense forest. Overnight stays in the Mt. Oiti study area are obligatory since Aegolius funerus is strictly nocturnal.
The study will be completed in the second year of the project. However, should the first year results provide adequate information to design management actions, the implementation of such actions may start earlier.
Note: This action will certify the presence of the species Aegolius funerus and Alectoris graeca on Mt. Oiti. These species are not listed in the “Birds listed in Annex I of the Council Directive 92/43/EEC” section of the Standard Data Forms of the site. The HSPN will undertake the responsibility to provide the information necessary for the update of the official Standard Data Form of the Natura 2000 site GR2440007 “ETHNIKOS DRYMOS OITIS - KOILADA ASOPOU” .
It is crucial to evaluate population dynamics and habitat utilisation of Alectoris graeca and the three woodpecker species before determining the details of conservation actions. Furthermore, it is crucial to confirm the presence and population status of Aegolius funerus. The Mt. Oiti record is quite old, and there have been no other reports until a very recent one (2010) of this species’ presence in the study area (A. Christopoulos, published in the journal ‘I FYSI’, April-June 2011).
The study should cover 2 reproductive seasons because the target species are rare in a large area of the sites of Mt. Oiti and the reproductive season is short. Thus, the probability of underestimation of the population and reproductive characteristics is too high if the survey lasts for only one season.
All the information concerning the aforementioned bird species will be used to modify forest management practices towards their protection and restoration. Population trends and reproductive success data are necessary for conservation status assessment and monitoring. In addition, such data will help locate the proper areas for artificial nest placement, as well as specify nesting box construction requirements, in order to ensure nest occupancy, avoid inter-species competition, and minimise predation risk and nest overheating. Data from the study will also provide essential information for the population dynamics/trends and habitat management of Alectoris graeca, such as the mountain grasslands and rocky upland areas. Moreover, the additional information gathered about other Annex I bird species present in the study area will help in the design of the legal framework for comprehensive protection of the study area (action C.10).
A report on population dynamics for all target species and on the factors that affect them.
Specifications for the management of Alectoris graeca, Dryocopus martius, Dendrocopos leucotos, Picus canus and Aegolius funerus (action C.8).
Specifications for the legal framework (action C.10).
Specifications of monitoring protocols for Alectoris graeca, Dryocopus martius, Dendrocopos leucotos, Picus canus and Aegolius funerus for action D.4 and for after-LIFE monitoring.