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Habitat suitability modelling reveals a strong niche overlap between two poorly known species, the broom hare and the Pyrenean grey partridge, in the north of Spain

AuthorsAcevedo, Pelayo ; Alzaga, Vanesa ; Cassinello, Jorge ; Gortázar, Christian
KeywordsLepus castroviejoi
ENFA methodology
Perdix perdix
Niche description
Cantabrian mountains
Issue DateMar-2007
CitationActa Oecologica - International Journal of Ecology 31:174-184 (2007)
AbstractIn the present work, we derive a habitat suitability model of the broom hare and the Pyrenean grey partridge in the Cantabrian Mountains by using the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis. Both species are endemic to the northern of Iberian mountains, and because of the vulnerability of the hare to endangerment or extinction and because of the great inter-est in the partridge, this habitat requires specific conservation measures. Literature on these animals’ biology and ecology is practically nonexistent. Habitat suitability analyses show that the hare and partridge occupy very similar ecological niches, characterized by a high percentage of broom and heather scrublands, high altitude and slope, and limited human accessibility. We have identified differences in habitat selection between the Pyre-nean grey partridge and other subspecies of partridge present in central-northern Europe. Our results indicate a probable metapopulation structure for both the hare and partridge; however, according to our predictive maps, there is a high connectivity between suitable habitats. Current decline of traditional rural activities, such as mountain livestock, are affecting the mosaic landscape. This, in turn, enhances biodiversity in the area and, parti-cularly, the viability of these valuable animal populations.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actao.2006.09.003
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Artículos
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