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Madrid, Spain

Moreno-Opo R.,CBD Habitat Foundation | Fernandez-Olalla M.,Technical University of Madrid | Margalida A.,Bearded Vulture Study and Protection Group | Margalida A.,University of Bern | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

The application of scientific-based conservation measures requires that sampling methodologies in studies modelling similar ecological aspects produce comparable results making easier their interpretation. We aimed to show how the choice of different methodological and ecological approaches can affect conclusions in nest-site selection studies along different Palearctic meta-populations of an indicator species. First, a multivariate analysis of the variables affecting nest-site selection in a breeding colony of cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus) in central Spain was performed. Then, a meta-analysis was applied to establish how methodological and habitat-type factors determine differences and similarities in the results obtained by previous studies that have modelled the forest breeding habitat of the species. Our results revealed patterns in nesting-habitat modelling by the cinereous vulture throughout its whole range: steep and south-facing slopes, great cover of large trees and distance to human activities were generally selected. The ratio and situation of the studied plots (nests/random), the use of plots vs. polygons as sampling units and the number of years of data set determined the variability explained by the model. Moreover, a greater size of the breeding colony implied that ecological and geomorphological variables at landscape level were more influential. Additionally, human activities affected in greater proportion to colonies situated in Mediterranean forests. For the first time, a meta-analysis regarding the factors determining nest-site selection heterogeneity for a single species at broad scale was achieved. It is essential to homogenize and coordinate experimental design in modelling the selection of species' ecological requirements in order to avoid that differences in results among studies would be due to methodological heterogeneity. This would optimize best conservation and management practices for habitats and species in a global context. © 2012 Moreno-Opo et al.

Moreno-Opo R.,CBD Habitat Foundation | Moreno-Opo R.,Complutense University of Madrid | Fernandez-Olalla M.,Technical University of Madrid | Margalida A.,University of Bern | And 3 more authors.
Acta Ornithologica | Year: 2013

Abstract. Breeding success determines the fate of bird populations and, therefore, understanding its determinants is an important issue for the application of conservation measures for endangered species. Breeding success depends on diverse, not mutually exclusive, effects such as the life strategies developed by species, environmental, ecological and anthropogenic factors. The influence of nest and nest tree characteristics, landscape composition and human disturbance on the breeding success of the vulnerable Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus in breeding colony in central Spain was analysed. A number of variables characterising the vegetation around the nest-tree, the nest-tree, and the nest itself were selected and analysed. We found that bigger and less deteriorated nests, taller nesting trees and a higher shrub coverage in a radius of 100 m around the nest resulted in an increased breeding success. Although nesting sites characteristics and nest quality can be related to birds' age and breeding experience, our findings show that geographical orientation of the slope where the nest is located as well as nest accessibility and habitat selection have an influence on Cinereous Vulture breeding success. We recommend that mature forests, steeper slopes should be carefully conserved and protected from anthropogenic disturbances in order to strengthen the conservation of breeding areas of this forest-dwelling endangered raptor species.

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