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|Title:||Predicting the distribution of a suitable habitat for the white stork in Southern Sweden: identifying priority areas for reintroduction and habitat restoration|
|Citation:||Animal Conservation, 2009; 12(1):62-70|
|O. Olsson & D. J. Rogers|
|Abstract:||The loss of wetlands and semi-natural grasslands throughout much of Europe has led to a historic decline of species associated with these habitats. The reinstatement of these habitats, however, requires spatially explicit predictions of the most suitable sites for restoration, to maximize the ecological benefit per unit effort. One species that demonstrates such declines is the white stork Ciconia ciconia, and the restoration of habitat for this flagship species is likely to benefit a suite of other wetland and grassland biota. Storks are also being reintroduced into southern Sweden and elsewhere, and the a priori identification of suitable sites for reintroduction will greatly improve the success of such programmes. Here a simple predictive habitat-use model was developed, where only a small but reliable presence-only dataset was available. The model is based on the extent and relative soil moisture of semi-natural pastures, the extent of wetlands and the extent of hayfields in southern Sweden. Here the model was used to predict the current extent of stork habitat that is suitable for successful breeding, and the extent of habitat that would become suitable with moderate habitat restoration. The habitat model identifies all 10 occupied nesting sites where breeding is currently successful. It also identifies ∼300 km2 of habitat that is predicted to be suitable stork habitat, but that is presently unused; these sites were identified as potential areas for stork reintroduction. The model also identifies over 100 areas where moderate habitat restoration is predicted to have a disproportionate effect (relative to the restoration effort) on the area of suitable habitat for storks; these sites were identified as priorities for habitat restoration. By identifying areas for reintroduction and restoration, such habitat suitability models have the potential to maximize the effectiveness of such conservation programmes.|
|Keywords:||Ciconia ciconia; declining farmland birds; flagship species; GIS; habitat; predictive habitat model; restoration|
|Rights:||© 2009 The Authors|
|Appears in Collections:||Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications|
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