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Open Access item The effects of land use and climate on red kite distribution in the Iberian peninsula

Authors:Seoane, Javier
Viñuela, Javier
Díaz-Delgado, Ricardo
Bustamante, Javier
Keywords:Generalized additive models (GAM), Milvus milvus, Poisoning, Predictive habitat modelling, Road count
Issue Date:Jun-2003
Publisher:Elsevier
Citation:Biological Conservation 111 (2003) 401–414
Abstract:The main breeding populations of the red kite (Milvus milvus L.), have been declining in the Iberian peninsula during the last decade. However, there is a lack of regional assessments of habitat suitability that identifies limiting ecological factors for the species and areas with conservation problems. In this work we present a regional model for the distribution and abundance of breeding red kites in the Iberian peninsula. The occurrence and estimated abundance in 100 km2 UTM squares resulting from road censuses were modelled with broad-scale explanatory variables obtained from satellite imagery, thematic digital cartography, cli- matic data and spatial coordinates. The occurrence model incorporated mainly climatic variables and had a good discrimination ability, while the abundance model incorporated mainly land-use variables and had a lower explanatory power (r2=0.14). The predictions somewhat overestimated the results of the censuses, and this agrees with the decline of population size and range observed for this species in the Iberian peninsula. These models are relevant in the conservation of the species: first, they suggest the limiting factors for red kite in the Iberian peninsula, and, second, they generate predictive maps pointing out both areas in which conservation problems may be acute (suitable locations that are unoccupied), and areas where no data is available but the red kite is likely to be present (thus guiding further survey and research).
Publisher version (URL):http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3207(02)00309-9
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10261/47039
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