Ski tourism stresses European capercaillie

March 12, 2008

Swiss, German and Austrian scientists said ski tourism might be harming capercaillie -- an old world grouse -- by affecting their ability to breed.

The researchers said ski tourism is raising stress levels among capercaillie -- a species whose numbers are substantially declining across central Europe.

The scientists said they used a new technique to assess the impact of ski tourism on capercaillie. Working in the Southern Black Forest in Germany, they collected the birds' droppings before and after the start of the ski season and analyzed them for levels of the breakdown products of the stress hormone corticosterone.

The researchers found levels of the breakdown products of the stress hormone were significantly higher in birds living in areas with moderate or high levels of ski tourism.

"Ski tourism affects both habitat use and stress hormone levels in capercaillie and this could adversely affect their body condition and overall fitness," said Lukas Jenni of the Swiss Ornithological Institute, one of the study's authors. "Because of this, we recommend that managers keep forests inhabited by capercaillie free from tourism infrastructure and retain undisturbed forest patches within skiing areas."

The research is reported in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Epic snows have meant economic woes across all industries

Related Stories

First-in-nation state climate assessment released by Vermont

June 10, 2014

Fewer days for making maple syrup. Twenty-five years with more snow for skiing. Summer heat stress for dairy cows. These are a few of the forecasts from the Vermont Climate Assessment, the nation's first comprehensive state-level ...

Recommended for you

New study sheds light on end of Snowball Earth period

August 24, 2015

The second ice age during the Cryogenian period was not followed by the sudden and chaotic melting-back of the ice as previously thought, but ended with regular advances and retreats of the ice, according to research published ...

Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos

August 26, 2015

New research from a team led by Carnegie's Robert Hazen predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.