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Evaluation of the network of protection areas for the feeding of scavengers in Spain

Protected areas are one of the most common strategies for wildlife conservation worldwide. However, their effectiveness is rarely evaluated. In Europe, after the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a restrictive sanitary regulation prohibited the abandonment of dead livestock in extensive farming in the field, which led to negative consequences for scavengers. As an attempt to mitigate this negative impact, a new regulation was approved to allow farmers to leave extensive livestock carcasses in the so-called "Protection areas for the feeding of necrophagous species of European interest" (PAFs). General aims of this study were to quantify (i) the proportion of breeding distribution of targeted scavenger species overlapping PAFs; (ii) the extensive livestock carrion biomass available inside PAFs; (iii) the proportion of breeding distribution of non-targeted scavenger species falling within PAFs; (iv) the overlap between the home range of vultures and PAFs, as well as the extent to which vultures move through different administrative units; and (v) the savings in greenhouse gas emissions in relation to the pre-PAF scenario. Results show that the implementation of the new sanitary regulation by means of areas for the feeding of scavengers could mean an important improvement in scavenger conservation and a noteworthy reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. However, some gaps related to the distribution of endangered facultative scavengers were identified. Moreover, given that vultures are highly mobile organisms, the design and management of these feeding areas should be coordinated at both the supra-regional and supra-national scales. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Morales-Reyes et al (2016) Evaluation of the network of protection areas for the feeding of scavengers in Spain: from biodiversity conservation to greenhouse gas emission savings. J Appl Ecol doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12833


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12833/abstract
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