Compositional analysis and GPS/GIS for study of habitat selection by the European beaver, Castor fiber in the middle reaches of the Morava River

The habitat selection of European beaver (Castor fiber) was studied in Central Moravia (the Czech Republic).

The Global Positioning System and Geographic Information System were used for mapping the habitat types and marks of beaver activity. Used and available habitats were compared by compositional analyses in two levels. Comparison of habitat use from home range compared to habitat availability in the study area gave Λ = 0.335 (P = 0.001), a simplified matrix ranked beaver habitat in the order: riverine willow scrub > willowpoplar forests of lowland rivers > hardwood forests > spruce plantations > meadows > reed and tall sedge beds > fields > river gravel banks > ruderal vegetation > oak-hornbeam forests > urbanized areas > ash-alder alluvial forests. Use of the habitat types based on the distribution of cut trees differed significantly from the habitat distribution within the home ranges (for habitat use quantified by number of cut trees Λ = 0.168, P = 0.001; for habitat use quantified by the time a beaver needs to cut trees Λ = 0.251, P = 0.003), the ranking matrix was: riverine willow scrub > willow-poplar forests of lowland rivers > ash-alder alluvial forests > hardwood forests of lowland rivers.

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