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Impacts of land use and infrastructural changes on threatened Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax breeding populations: quantitative assessments using a recently developed spatially explicit dynamic modelling framework



With the combination of worldwide landscape changes and the uncertainty about the impact on species abundance and distribution, the value of spatio-temporal modelling tools is increasingly obvious. The Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax breeds on low-intensity arable cultivation and pastoral land and is currently threatened by diverse landscape modifications. The aim of this research was to predict Little Bustard population trends in the face of realistic scenarios of land use and infrastructure changes, applying a recently developed spatially explicit framework, based on the stochastic dynamic methodology (StDM). The application of this approach provided some basis to analyse the responses of breeding populations’ spatial distribution and abundance to the scenarios implemented. Since some of these scenarios represent local and/or regional risks to the viability of Little Bustard breeding populations, the results obtained demonstrate the potential of the proposed framework for landscape planning in the scope of the conservation of this threatened species. This approach also provides a promising baseline to support ecological risk assessments for other species, derived from ecological models with increased predictive power and intuitiveness to decision makers and environmental managers.


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