The first study that separates the effect of forest trails from the presence of people shows that the number of birds, as well as bird species, is smaller when trails are used regularly. This is also the case where trails have been used for many years, which indicates that forest birds do not get used to this recreational activity. Published in Boundaries in ecology and evolution, the conclusion shows that the physical presence of the pathway has less impact on forest birds than how often these recreational pathways are used by humans. In order to reduce the impact on these forest creatures, people should avoid roaming from certain roads.
"We show that forest birds are quite severely affected by humans and that this avoidance behavior has not disappeared even after years of use by humans, which indicates that not all birds are referred to people and that there is a long-lasting effect," says Dr. Ives Botsch, lead author of this study, based at the Swiss Ornithological Institute, Sempach, Switzerland, and associated with the Institute for Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. "This is important to show because pressure on natural habitats and areas of nature conservation is getting stronger, and access barring is often ignored."
Many outdoor activities rely on infrastructure, where roads and paths are the most common. Previous research has shown that trails cause loss and fragmentation of habitats, where larger areas of habitat are scrubbed into smaller parts, thus separating wildlife populations. However, it was difficult to say whether the presence of trails or people who have the greatest influence on forest birds.
Botsch explains: "Previous studies provide conflicting results about the effects of the bird track, and some studies show negative effects, while others do not. We thought that differences in the intensity of human use could cause this deviation, which motivated us to separate the effect of the path from the presence of people . "
The researchers visited four forests with a similar habitat, such as tree species, but which differ in the level of recreation. They recorded all the birds that they heard and saw at points near the path, as well as in the forest itself, and found that the human face was often used in the forests. In addition, they noted that certain species are more affected than others.
"The species with high sensitivity, measured by the longer initiation of the flight (the distance at which the bird is exposed to the approximate flyer), showed a stronger avoidance of pathways, even in rare particles. These susceptible species were raptors, and Eurasian sparrows, as well as pigeons and bark, "says Boc.
He continues: "It is generally assumed that hiking in nature does not harm the wild. But our study shows even in the forests that have been used for decades for recreational purposes, birds are not used to people enough to find the negative impact of human disorders."
Botsch concludes with some tips, which can help reduce harmful effects on forest birds from people using forest recreation.
"We believe that protected areas with prohibited access are necessary and important and that new roads in remote forest areas should not be promoted. Visitors to existing forest paths should be encouraged to abide by" staying on track "rules and refrain from roaming from certain roads. "
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