Illustrating pressures of human activities on black grouse
Density of ski resorts per 10 km² on black grouse potential reproduction habitat for the Alpine arch.
© Austrian Federal Environment Agency
This large bird has been chosen to represent species that will be negatively affected by climate change.
Black grouse have a sedentary lifestyle which makes them particularly vulnerable to environmental changes and human disturbance. One of the main artificial disturbances for black grouse are ski lifts. To illustrate the pressure of human activities on black grouse territories, the Econnect partners computed the density of ski resorts per 10 km² in potential black grouse breeding habitat (see the picture).
Black grouse relies on several local habitat types during its annual cycle. For the survival of the bird it is crucial that these different habitats patches exist and can be reached. According to experts black grouse requires approximately 20 hectares of continuous breeding habitat during summer. Fragmentation of these local breeding habitats by local disturbance (e.g. leisure activities and infrastructure) is seen as the main problem. For wintering habitats the frequency of perturbation is a serious problem: frequent disturbance induces stress on black grouse and causes imbalances in its energy budget.
A similar analysis has been carried out for other species. Barriers were defined individually for each species with regard to their impact on the migratory behavior.