Declining population trends of European mountain birds

Lehikoinen A., Brotons L., Calladine J., Campedelli T., Escandell V., Flousek J., Grueneberg C., Haas F., Harris S., Herrando S., Husby M., Jiguet F., Kålås J.A., Lindström Å., Lorrillière R., Molina B., Pladevall C., Calvi G., Sattler T., Schmid H., Sirkiä P.M., Teufelbauer N., Trautmann S. (2019) Declining population trends of European mountain birds. Global Change Biology. 25: 577-588.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/gcb.14522

Abstract:

Mountain areas often hold special species communities, and they are high on the list of conservation concern. Global warming and changes in human land use, such as grazing pressure and afforestation, have been suggested to be major threats for biodiversity in the mountain areas, affecting species abundance and causing distribution shifts towards mountaintops. Population shifts towards poles and mountaintops have been documented in several areas, indicating that climate change is one of the key drivers of species’ distribution changes. Despite the high conservation concern, relatively little is known about the population trends of species in mountain areas due to low accessibility and difficult working conditions. Thanks to the recent improvement of bird monitoring schemes around Europe, we can here report a first account of population trends of 44 bird species from four major European mountain regions: Fennoscandia, UK upland, south-western (Iberia) and south-central mountains (Alps), covering 12 countries. Overall, the mountain bird species declined significantly (−7%) during 2002–2014, which is similar to the declining rate in common birds in Europe during the same period. Mountain specialists showed a significant −10% decline in population numbers. The slope for mountain generalists was also negative, but not significantly so. The slopes of specialists and generalists did not differ from each other. Fennoscandian and Iberian populations were on average declining, while in United Kingdom and Alps, trends were nonsignificant. Temperature change or migratory behaviour was not significantly associated with regional population trends of species. Alpine habitats are highly vulnerable to climate change, and this is certainly one of the main drivers of mountain bird population trends. However, observed declines can also be partly linked with local land use practices. More efforts should be undertaken to identify the causes of decline and to increase conservation efforts for these populations. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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Efficiency of species survey networks can be improved by integrating different monitoring approaches in a spatial prioritization design

Morán-Ordóñez A., Canessa S., Bota G., Brotons L., Herrando S., Hermoso V. (2018) Efficiency of species survey networks can be improved by integrating different monitoring approaches in a spatial prioritization design. Conservation Letters. 11: 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/conl.12591

Abstract:

Public participation to monitoring programs is increasingly advocated to overcome scarcity of resources and deliver important information for policy-making. Here, we illustrate the design of optimal monitoring networks for bird species of conservation concern in Catalonia (NE Spain), under different scenarios of combined governmental and citizen-science monitoring approaches. In our case study, current government efforts, limited to protected areas, were insufficient to cover the whole spectrum of target species and species-threat levels, reinforcing the assumption that citizen-science data can greatly assist in achieving monitoring targets. However, simply carrying out both government and citizen-science monitoring ad hoc led to inefficiency and duplication of efforts: some species were represented in excess of targets while several features were undersampled. Policy-making should concentrate on providing an adequate platform for coordination of government and public-participatory monitoring to minimize duplicated efforts, overcome the biases of each monitoring program and obtain the best from both. © 2018 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Assessing the distribution of forest ecosystem services in a highly populated Mediterranean region

Roces-Díaz J.V., Vayreda J., Banqué-Casanovas M., Cusó M., Anton M., Bonet J.A., Brotons L., De Cáceres M., Herrando S., Martínez de Aragón J., de-Miguel S., Martínez-Vilalta J. (2018) Assessing the distribution of forest ecosystem services in a highly populated Mediterranean region. Ecological Indicators. 93: 986-997.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.05.076

Abstract:

Forest ecosystems provide a wide range of goods and services to society and host high levels of biodiversity. Nevertheless, forest ecosystem services (ES) are often quantified and assessed using simplified methodologies (e.g., proxy methods based exclusively on Land Use Land Cover maps) that introduce substantial uncertainty in the analysis by ignoring, for instance, the species composition and spatial configuration of the ecosystems studied. In this work we defined and calculated a set of 12 indicators of several ES for the forests of the highly populated region of Catalonia (North-eastern Iberian Peninsula). The indicators combined different sources of information such as forest surveys, ecological model predictions and official statistics, but also included additional land cover information. All ES indicators were aggregated at the municipality level to compare their values and distribution patterns. We assessed spatial trade-offs and synergies among ES, as well as their relationships with a set of socioeconomic, climatic and biodiversity variables using correlation analyses and mixed-effects models. The results suggest a clustering of provisioning and regulating ES in mountainous zones towards the North of the study area. These two types of services showed a high degree of spatial similarity and presented high positive correlations. In contrast, cultural ES showed a more scattered pattern, which included lower elevation areas in the South of the study region. Climatic conditions were the main determinants of the spatial variability in the supply of the different ES, with most indicators being positively associated with precipitation and negatively associated with temperature. In addition, biodiversity (particularly woody species richness) showed positive relations with most of these ES, while socioeconomic variables (such as population density and the percentage employment in agriculture) showed negative associations with most of them. The combination of information from different data sources (including primary data) allowed for a detailed analysis of forest ES, likely removing some of the problems derived from approaches based only on proxy methods. In addition, the use of municipalities as study unit makes results directly relevant to management and planning strategies operating at this scale (e.g., forest management and planning). © 2018 Elsevier Ltd

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The spatial level of analysis affects the patterns of forest ecosystem services supply and their relationships

Roces-Díaz, J.V., Vayreda, J., Banqué-Casanovas, M., Díaz-Varela, E., Bonet, J.A., Brotons, L., de-Miguel, S., Herrando, S., Martínez-Vilalta, J. (2018) The spatial level of analysis affects the patterns of forest ecosystem services supply and their relationships. Science of the Total Environment. 626: 1270-1283.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.150

Abstract:

Evaluating the reliability of species distribution models with an indirect measure of bird reproductive performance

Aizpurua O., Cantú-Salazar L., Martin G.S., Sardà-Palomera F., Gargallo G., Herrando S., Brotons L., Titeux N. (2017) Evaluating the reliability of species distribution models with an indirect measure of bird reproductive performance. Journal of Avian Biology. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/jav.01218

Abstract:

Measures of fitness such as reproductive performance are considered reliable indicators of habitat quality for a species. Such measures are, however, only available in a restricted number of sites, which prevents them from being used to quantify habitat quality across landscapes or regions. Alternatively, species presence records can be used along with environmental variables to build models that predict the distribution of species across larger spatial extents. Model predictions are often used for management purposes as they are assumed to describe the quality of the habitats to support a species. Yet, given that species are often present both in optimal and suboptimal areas, the use of data collected during the breeding season to build these models may potentially result in misleading predictions of habitat quality for the reproduction of the species, with potentially significant conservation consequences. In this study we analysed the relationship between fitness parameters informing on habitat quality for reproduction and predictions of species distribution models at multiple spatial scales using two independent sets of data. For 19 passerine bird species, we compared an indirect measure of reproductive performance (ratio of juveniles-to-adults) - obtained from Constant Effort Sites (CES) mist-netting data in Catalonia - with the predictions of models based on bird presence records collected during the Catalan Breeding Bird Atlas (CBBA). A positive relationship between the predictions derived from species distribution models and the reproductive performance of the species was found for almost half of the species at one or more spatial scales. This result suggests that species distribution models may help to predict habitat quality for some species over some extents. However, caution is needed as this is not consistent for all species at all scales. Further work based on species- and scale-specific approaches is now required to understand in which situations species distribution models provide predictions that are in line with reproductive performance. © 2017 Nordic Society Oikos.

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Indicators of the effects of the urban greening on birds: The case of Barcelona

Herrando, S., Brotons, L., Anton, M., Franch, M., Quesada, J., Ferrer, X. (2017) Indicators of the effects of the urban greening on birds: The case of Barcelona. Ecology and Conservation of Birds in Urban Environments. : 449-463.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-43314-1_22

Abstract:

Biodiversity loss for rural abandonment in LTER Montseny measured by bird surveys [La pérdida de biodiversidad por abandono rural en el LTER Montseny cuantificada a partir del monitoreo de aves]

Herrando, S., Anton, M., Brotons, Ll., Guinart, D. (2016) Biodiversity loss for rural abandonment in LTER Montseny measured by bird surveys [La pérdida de biodiversidad por abandono rural en el LTER Montseny cuantificada a partir del monitoreo de aves]. Ecosistemas. 25: 58-64.
Link
Doi: 10.7818/ECOS.2016.25-1.07

Abstract:

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.
Link
Doi: 10.1017/S0376892915000260

Abstract:

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.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/ddi.12375

Abstract:

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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Indicators of the impact of land use changes using large-scale bird surveys: Land abandonment in a Mediterranean region

Herrando S., Anton M., Sarda-Palomera F., Bota G., Gregory R.D., Brotons L. (2014) Indicators of the impact of land use changes using large-scale bird surveys: Land abandonment in a Mediterranean region. Ecological Indicators. 45: 235-244.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2014.04.011

Abstract:

Developing sound indicators of biodiversity impact has been identified as a critical step towards our understanding of how global change components are affecting the environment across the globe. Land abandonment is recognized as a major component of global change in the Mediterranean basin, however, we lack adequate, quantitative, indicators of its impact on biodiversity. An appealing approach to develop biodiversity indicators is the use of large-scale bird monitoring projects, an important source of information that is already available in many countries. In this study we develop a method to quantify the impact of the two main processes associated with land abandonment in the Mediterranean region, namely the abandonment of farmland, which produces a shift from cultivated land to open natural habitats, and the encroachment by vegetation usually associated with reductions in livestock grazing and wood harvesting practices. We used data from bird atlas and monitoring schemes in Catalonia (north-east Iberian Peninsula) to characterize species' population response to these processes by means of detecting quantitative changes in relative abundances along a gradient ranging from habitats not affected by a given driving force to those that arise as a consequence of such force. We then generated multi-species indicators of the impact of these land use changes using these specific population responses to calibrate the relative contribution of each species in the composite index. The temporal patterns depicted by the two indicators in the period 2002-2011 show that vegetation encroachment did have a significant impact on bird communities, whereas any noticeable effect of farmland abandonment on bird populations was observed. The methodology proposed here could be employed to develop indicators capable to track biological impacts of land use change on an annual basis and inform decision-makers about the rate of increase or decrease on wildlife populations. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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