Habitat suitability models for assessing bird conservation goals in 'Special Protection Areas'

Authors: José María FERNÁNDEZ and Mikel GURRUTXAGA

E-mail: jfernandez@ikt.es

Published: Volume 57(Especia, December 2010. Pages 79-91.

Language: English

Keywords: conservation goals, foraging habitat, nesting habitat, Northern Spain, predictive models, raptors and Special Protection Areas


In this study, we have used predictive habitat suitability models to test whether spatial coverage by an SPA classified for Bonelli’s eagle, golden eagle, Egyptian vulture, peregrine falcon, eagle owl and turtle dove achieved conservation goals at home range, foraging and nesting habitat scales. GIS data and high-resolution modelling techniques were useful in demonstrating insufficient spatial coverage, mainly for foraging habitats associated with lowland and agricultural areas. This lack of coherence between formal conservation goals and spatial needs of populations was related to SPA design based on expert judgement, or taking into account only incomplete or short-term occurrence data. Spatial improvements in SPA design were suggested, to increase perspectives for long-term species persistence.

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