Assessing impacts of land abandonment on Mediterranean biodiversity using indicators based on bird and butterfly monitoring data

HERRANDO S., BROTONS L., ANTON M., PARAMO F., VILLERO D., TITEUX N., QUESADA J., STEFANESCU C. (2015) Assessing impacts of land abandonment on Mediterranean biodiversity using indicators based on bird and butterfly monitoring data. Environmental Conservation. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1017/S0376892915000260

Resum:

In Europe, and particularly in the Mediterranean Basin, the abandonment of traditional land-use practices has been reported as one of the main causes of decline for open-habitat species. Data from large-scale bird and butterfly monitoring schemes in the north-east Iberian Peninsula were used to evaluate the impact that land abandonment has had on local biodiversity. Species’ habitat preferences, along a gradient from open to forest habitats, were significantly related to population trends: for both birds and butterflies, open-habitat species showed the most marked declines while forest species increased moderately. Multi-species indicators for tracking the impact of land abandonment on bird and butterfly populations were developed using habitat preference estimates and population trend indices. The patterns shown by these indicators were in line with the changes occurring in forest cover in the monitoring sites. This study reveals that multi-species indicators based on monitoring data from different taxonomic groups (here, birds and butterflies) may usefully be employed to track impacts of environmental change on biodiversity. Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 2015

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Predicting the future effectiveness of protected areas for bird conservation in Mediterranean ecosystems under climate change and novel fire regime scenarios

Regos A., D'Amen M., Titeux N., Herrando S., Guisan A., Brotons L. (2015) Predicting the future effectiveness of protected areas for bird conservation in Mediterranean ecosystems under climate change and novel fire regime scenarios. Diversity and Distributions. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1111/ddi.12375

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Aim: Global environmental changes challenge traditional conservation approaches based on the selection of static protected areas due to their limited ability to deal with the dynamic nature of driving forces relevant to biodiversity. The Natura 2000 network (N2000) constitutes a major milestone in biodiversity conservation in Europe, but the degree to which this static network will be able to reach its long-term conservation objectives raises concern. We assessed the changes in the effectiveness of N2000 in a Mediterranean ecosystem between 2000 and 2050 under different combinations of climate and land cover change scenarios. Location: Catalonia, Spain. Methods: Potential distribution changes of several terrestrial bird species of conservation interest included in the European Union's Birds Directive were predicted within an ensemble-forecasting framework that hierarchically integrated climate change and land cover change scenarios. Land cover changes were simulated using a spatially explicit fire-succession model that integrates fire management strategies and vegetation encroachment after the abandonment of cultivated areas as the main drivers of landscape dynamics in Mediterranean ecosystems. Results: Our results suggest that the amount of suitable habitats for the target species will strongly decrease both inside and outside N2000. However, the effectiveness of N2000 is expected to increase in the next decades because the amount of suitable habitats is predicted to decrease less inside than outside this network. Main conclusions: Such predictions shed light on the key role that the current N2000 may play in the near future and emphasize the need for an integrative conservation perspective wherein agricultural, forest and fire management policies should be considered to effectively preserve key habitats for threatened birds in fire-prone, highly dynamic Mediterranean ecosystems. Results also show the importance of considering landscape dynamics and the synergies between different driving forces when assessing the long-term effectiveness of protected areas for biodiversity conservation. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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