Middle Spotted Woodpecker

    In Switzerland, the Middle Spotted Woodpecker is restricted to mature oak forests. To maintain viable populations of this habitat specialist, specific measures in terms of habitat management are needed.

    Aims

    According to the Swiss species action plan for the Middle Spotted Woodpecker, the current population (approx. 500 breeding pairs) and its habitat should be maintained. Additionally, oak plantations should be created to increase future habitat availability and connectivity of the species´ habitats.

    Approach

    In collaboration with the Swiss Association for the Protection of Birds SVS/Birdlife Switzerland and proQuercus, the Swiss Ornithological Institute provides advice to stakeholders wishing to engage in the protection and promotion of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker. The jointly conducted counselling service comprises concerted support of projects (e.g. monitoring programmes, research projects, etc.) as well as specific promotion of conservation measures (e.g. projects to promote oaks). On the other hand, courses of instruction on the ecology of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker and suitable habitat management strategies are offered to forest managers, forest owners, etc.

    Significance

    The Middle Spotted Woodpecker is one of 50 priority species for conservation programmes in Switzerland. In the long run, these species can only be maintained by taking specific protection and promotion measures, which go beyond the general measures to promote biodiversity. This means that the kind of management of oak forests will play a decisive role for whether or not Middle Spotted Woodpeckers will continue to breed in Switzerland in the future. Because (old) oak forests host a great number of species from different taxa, measures in favour of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker and its habitats will generally lead to increased biodiversity in these forests.

    Project management

    Gilberto Pasinelli, Reto Spaar

    Partners

    Raffael Ayé, Swiss Association for the Protection of Birds SVS/BirdLife Switzerland
    Verein proQuercus
    Federal Office for the Environment FOEN