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Modelling population reinforcement at a large spatial scale as a conservation strategy for the declining little bustard (Tetrax tetrax) in agricultural habitats

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2005

Vincent Bretagnolle
Affiliation:
CNRS-CEBC, 79360 Villiers-en-Bois, France
Pablo Inchausti
Affiliation:
ECOBIO, Université de Rennes 1, Ave. Général Leclerc, Rennes 35042 France
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Abstract

The little bustard (Tetrax tetrax) has declined rapidly across European farmland landscapes due to agricultural intensification. In France, the number of breeding males in agricultural habitats has been reduced by 92% over the last 20 years as a result of decreases in insect abundance and nest destruction during harvesting. An age- and sex-structured stochastic metapopulation model was formulated for the remaining little bustard population in south-west France and, using actual estimates of demographic rates obtained after 1997, its extinction risk over the next 30 years was estimated to be ca. 0.48. Limited population reinforcement has thus appeared as a potential conservation strategy for this species in agricultural habitats, while agro-environmental actions have begun to have an effect on habitat quality at the landscape level. Different strategies for the reinforcement of fledglings, including the number and frequency of releases and the number of release localities in relation to four criteria for choosing the release points, were evaluated in terms of their effect in reducing the extinction risk of local populations and of the metapopulation. The reinforcement of 100 fledglings per year for 5 years and choosing the actual release points using the current abundance were found to be the optimal choices for reducing the estimated extinction risk of the remaining little bustard population in south-west France.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2005 The Zoological Society of London

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Modelling population reinforcement at a large spatial scale as a conservation strategy for the declining little bustard (Tetrax tetrax) in agricultural habitats
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Modelling population reinforcement at a large spatial scale as a conservation strategy for the declining little bustard (Tetrax tetrax) in agricultural habitats
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