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Lynx reintroductions in fragmented landscapes of Germany: Projects with a future or misunderstood wildlife conservation?

AuthorsKramer-Schadt, Stephanie; Revilla, Eloy ; Wiegand, Thorsten
KeywordsLarge carnivores
Lynx lynx L
Mortality scenarios
Population viability analysis
Spatially explicit individual-based model
Species reintroduction
Issue Date2005
CitationBiological conservation, 125 : 169-182 (2005)
AbstractEurasian lynx are slowly recovering in Germany after an absence of about 100 years, and additional reintroduction programs have been launched. However, suitable habitat is patchily distributed in Germany, and whether patches could host a viable popu- lation or contribute to the potential spread of lynx is uncertain. We combined demographic scenarios with a spatially explicit pop- ulation simulation model to evaluate the viability and colonization success of lynx in the different patches, the aim being to conclude guidelines for reintroductions. The spatial basis of our model is a validated habitat model for the lynx in Germany. The dispersal module stems from a calibrated dispersal model, while the demographic module uses plausible published information on the lynx’ life history. The results indicate that (1) a viable population is possible, but that (2) source patches are not interconnected except along the German–Czech border, and that (3) from a demographic viewpoint at least 10 females and 5 males are required for a start that will develop into a viable population with an extinction probability of less than 5% in 50 years. The survival rate of resident adults was the most sensitive parameter, and the best management strategy for the success of reintroduction would be to reduce the mortality of residents in the source patches. Nevertheless, the extremely low probability of connectivity between suitable patches makes most of the reintroduction plans isolated efforts, and they are therefore questionable in the long run. With such a model, the suitability of the single habitat patches can be assessed and the most appropriate management scheme applied. This study shows that simulation models are useful tools for establishing the comparative effectiveness of reintroduction plans aimed at increasing the viability of the species
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2005.02.015
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Comunicaciones congresos
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