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Effect of game management on wild red-legged partridge abundance

AutorDíaz-Fernández, Silvia ; Arroyo, Beatriz ; Casas, Fabián; Martínez-Haro, Mónica ; Viñuela, Javier
Palabras claveManagement
Red-legged partridge
Fecha de publicación16-jul-2015
EditorPublic Library of Science
CitaciónPLoS ONE 8(6): e66671 (2013)
ResumenThe reduction of game and fish populations has increased investment in management practices. Hunting and fishing managers use several tools to maximize harvest. Managers need to know the impact their management has on wild populations. This issue is especially important to improve management efficacy and biodiversity conservation. We used questionnaires and field bird surveys in 48 hunting estates to assess whether red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa young/ adult ratio and summer abundance were related to the intensity of management (provision of supplementary food and water, predator control and releases of farm-bred partridges), harvest intensity or habitat in Central Spain. We hypothesized that partridge abundance would be higher where management practices were applied more intensively. Variation in young/ adult ratio among estates was best explained by habitat, year and some management practices. Density of feeders and water points had a positive relationship with this ratio, while the density of partridges released and magpies controlled were negatively related to it. The variables with greatest relative importance were feeders, releases and year. Variations in postbreeding red-legged partridge abundance among estates were best explained by habitat, year, the same management variables that influenced young/adult ratio, and harvest intensity. Harvest intensity was negatively related to partridge abundance. The other management variables had the same type of relationship with abundance as with young/adult ratio, except magpie control. Variables with greatest relative importance were habitat, feeders, water points, releases and harvest intensity. Our study suggests that management had an overall important effect on post-breeding partridge abundance. However, this effect varied among tools, as some had the desired effect (increase in partridge abundance), whereas others did not or even had a negative relationship (such as release of farm-reared birds) and can be thus considered inefficient or even detrimental. We advise reconsidering their use from both ecological and economical points of view.
Versión del editorhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0066671
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