Article

Taxonomic and ecological composition of forest stands inhabited by forest dormouse Dryomys nitedula (Rodentia: Gliridae) in the Middle Volga

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Abstract

Populations of the forest dormouse (Dryomys nitedula Pallas, 1778) are widespread across Europe and south-western Asia, but their ability to survive in a mosaic of forest stands is insufficient, and they are extremely scarce in Russia. In 2013–2019, we studied the taxonomic and ecological composition of forest stands in the Middle Volga. Forest dormice were recorded in 30% of the investigated forest stands, being 4–70 ha in size. Habitats of the forest dormouse were characterized by higher species richness of woody plants, by presence of woody plant species with juicy fruits, dry fruits and seeds, and by dominance of shrubs (52.1% of all plant species). Out of 98 species of gymnosperms and angiosperms, species belonging to families Rosaceae and Salicaceae dominated. Out of the 98 registered plants, 43 species formed juicy and 55 species formed dry fruits and seeds, including Quercus robur L., Corylus avellana L., Tilia cordata Mill. Alien plant species (26.4%) had no impact on the habitat attractivity. Favorable conditions for existence the forest dormouse in the Middle Volga are secured by high diversity of woody plants in the forest stands, providing these animals with plant-based food. Usage of only optimal habitats resulted in patchy distribution of the species.

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Distribution and conservation of Italian dormice
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