Bioinspired models for assessing the importance of transhumance and transboundary management in the conservation of European avian scavengers

Margalida, Antoni; Oliva-Vidal, Pilar; Llamas, Alfonso; Colomer, M.À. (2018). Bioinspired models for assessing the importance of transhumance and transboundary management in the conservation of European avian scavengers. Biological conservation, 228, pp. 321-330. Elsevier 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.11.004

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The assessment of temporal and spatial availability of food resources is an important prerequisite in developing improved management tools for effective conservation action. It is especially useful in the conservation of avian scavengers inhabiting regions where livestock move on a regular basis (transhumance). Important management decisions can be taken on the basis of theoretical analyses that need to be regularly checked. In this case study, we consider models of Griffon vulture Gyps fulvus, Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus and bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus populations in a part of Spain with one of the highest densities of scavenging birds, and where traditional farming practices remain. We applied bioinspired Population Dynamic P System models (PDP) to assess these species' population trends against the distribution, quantity and availability of carrion for food. We show asymmetries in the availability of food resources, which are substantially higher in summer due to transhumant movements. In the study area, a lack of food resources in winter leads to a seasonal reduction in food supplies to levels unable to meet the energetic requirements of the most abundant vulture species, the Griffon vulture. Our results suggest that regardless of active management (e.g. supplementary feeding sites) and the birds’ use of other potential food resources not included in the model, Griffon vultures are able to find important alternative food resources in more remote areas. We show the importance of variations at spatio- temporal scales in the objective forecasting of population trends, and in the correct application of management actions. Because of the importance of robust assessments for management applications, we discuss the ad- vantages and limitations of ecological modelling for avian scavengers, highlighting the importance of trans- humance processes and transboundary approaches.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Margalida, Antoni

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

0006-3207

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

05 Jun 2019 11:04

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 07:43

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.biocon.2018.11.004

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.126955

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/126955

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