Friday, 22 June 2018

New Publication (and Cover !) on Cinereous Vulture distribution

García‐Barón I, Cortés‐Avizanda A, Verburg PH, et al. 2018 How to fit the distribution of apex scavengers into land‐abandonment scenarios? The Cinereous vulture in the Mediterranean biome. Divers Distrib. 2018;24:1018–1031.

Abstract: Aim: Farmland abandonment or “ecological rewilding” shapes species distribution and ecological process ultimately affecting the biodiversity and functionality of ecosystems. Land abandonment predictions based on alternative future socioeconomic scenarios allow foretell the future of biota in Europe. From here, we predict how these forecasts may affect large‐scale distribution of the Cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus), an apex scavenger closely linked to Mediterranean agro‐grazing systems. 
Location: Iberian Peninsula.

Methods: Firstly, we modelled nest‐site and foraging habitat selection in relation to variables quantifying physiography, trophic resources and human disturbance. Secondly, we evaluate to what extent land abandonment may affect the life traits of the species and finally we determined how potential future distribution of the species would vary according to asymmetric socioeconomic land‐abandonment predictions for year 2040.

Results: Cinereous vultures selected breeding areas with steep slopes and low human presence whereas foraging areas are characterized by high abundance of European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and wild ungulates. Liberalization of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) could potentially transform positively 66% of the current nesting habitat, favouring the recovery of mature forest. Contrarily, land abandonment would negatively affect the 63% of the current foraging habitat reducing the availability of preferred food resources (wild European rabbit). On the other hand, the maintenance of the CAP would determine lower frequencies (24%–22%) of nesting and foraging habitat change.
Main conclusions: Land abandonment may result into opposite effects on the focal species because of the increase in nesting habitats and wild ungulates populations and, on the other hand, lower availability of open areas with poorer densities of European rabbits. Land‐abandonment models’ scenarios are still coarse‐grained; the apparition of new human uses in natural areas may take place at small‐sized and medium‐sized scales, ultimately adding complexity to the prediction on the future of biota and ecosystems.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

New Publication on Egyptian vulture and stakeholders perceptions

Cortés-Avizanda, A., Martin-Lopez, B., Ceballos, O. and Pereira, H. M. 2018 Stakeholders perceptions of the endangered Egyptian vulture: Insights for conservation. Biological Conservation 2018: 173-180, doi.

Photo: M. de la Riva
 Abstract: The inclusion of perceptions, interests and needs of stakeholders in biodiversity conservation is critical for the long-term protection of endangered species. Yet, the social dimensions of endangered species conservation are often overlooked. We examined the social perceptions of the conservational importance of the globally endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in one of the most important breeding areas worldwide: the Bardenas Reales Protected Area, northern Spain. We assessed the factors that influence the stakeholders' views of its conservation importance and identified the management strategies that would have social support. We found that the understandings of the Egyptian vulture differed among stakeholders. Hunters had the highest level of knowledge about its presence, threatened status and role as provider of ecosystem services. Livestock keepers recognized the worth of the Egyptian vulture for carcass removal, whereas other regulating services (e.g. biological control) were frequently acknowledged by tourists. Hunters and livestock keepers were more critical about the effectiveness of ongoing conservation strategies for preserving the Egyptian vulture than tourists. Moreover, each stakeholder group identified different actions for the conservation of the Egyptian vulture in the area. The consideration of the diversity of conservation actions suggested by stakeholders could catalyze broader support for the preservation of the Egyptian vulture

An overview of the study has been published (in Spanish) in the popular science magazine Quercus  here

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

GEDA at the I National Symposium on Raptors and their habitats

GEDA has participated to the I National Symposim on Raptors and their Habitats in Guara last week.
 Ana Sanz-Aguilar, Ainara Cortés-Avizanda and Jaume Badia-Boher have contributed with their work to the Symposium.

Lizard campaign just started!

  The first island has been sampled. Likely we had good weather and animals were collaborating. Looking forward to calculate an estimate of ...