Juan Arizaga, Aitor Lekuona, Mikel Olano, Ismael Mondragón, Maialen Galparsoro, Gotzon Ansoleaga, Iñigo Mendiola

A Woodland Management Protocol for the Conservation of a Locally Endangered Raptor Breeding in Timber Plantations

  • Animal Science and Zoology

ABSTRACT Woodlands subjected to commercial exploitation can play an important role in the conservation of forest-dwelling birds, whether these species breed, forage, or spend all or part of their annual cycle in this habitat. Since 2016, the Administration of Gipuzkoa Province, Spain, has implemented a new protocol designed to preserve the nesting habitat of the Red Kite (Milvus milvus) population breeding within the region. This species is locally classified as endangered and therefore has conservation priority. The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficacy, demographic impact, and cost of this protocol. Over a period of 7 yr (2016–2022), implementation of the protocol preserved 23 nests (i.e., 15.2% of the total 151 nests). From these protected nests, 37 young fledged, which was 16% of all the young fledged within the region in this period. Relative to the financial cost of protecting nature in Gipuzkoa, implementation of this protocol was inexpensive, totalling <0.1% of the administration’s budget for managing natural habitats within the province.

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