ANALYSIS OF THE VIABILITY OF THE PROPOSAL OF NATURA 2000 NETWORK FOR THE CATALAN POPULATION OF BONELLIíS EAGLE

In the news published in our Web the past month of April were explained the advantages that the Natura 2000 Network could suppose for the conservation of the biodiversity in the natural spaces that went to be comprised in it as well as the socioeconomic benefits that could bring to the people who reside in these areas. Also the last proposal of natural spaces that the Generalitat de Catalunya tried to integrate in the Natura 2000 Network was showed and also the possibility of presenting allegations until the end of the month of June.

The Directive Birds (79/409/CEE) of the European Union mentions the Bonelliís eagle as one of the key species at the time of establishing which are the areas that have to be comprised in the Natura 2000 Network and that, for that reason, is precise to conserve to contribute to protect its populations and habitats. For this reason, the Equip de Biologia de la Conservaciů - ņliga Perdiguera has reviewed in detail the Catalan proposal of Natura 2000 Network and has made a technical report for the Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

In main lines, the last enlargements proposed by the same Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge are considered positive, although in general enough deficiencies have continued existing at the time of guaranteeing as the conservation of the Catalan population of Bonelliís eagle as of other many species and important habitats. Next the main deficiencies detected in the proposal are exposed of general way:

-          the Catalan nesting core that has been included is very fragmented in islands, in certain cases of size excessively reduced to guarantee its preservation.

-          In certain points one does not favor the possible connectivity and interchange of individuals between the different population cores. This fact is very evident in the most northern part of the Catalan coastal population, that is an vital bridge area between the populations Iberian and French.

-          the parts of the territories that have been comprised in the Network are mainly where the nests are, normally zones of mountain that already enjoy some type of protection, but continue leaving outside the zones generally of plain where the eagles are going to hunt. This strategy has demonstrated to be little effective under the point of view of the conservation. It would be necessary to incorporate these hunting areas in the Natura 2000 Network too, specially those that are known with detail thanks to the existing studies of radiotracking.

-          it is also considered necessary to incorporate territories recently abandoned where actions of habitat improvement have been made and that at the present time present favorable conditions to be recolonized.

-          It is precise to extend the surface of the dispersion areas of the young eagles that are included in the Natura 2000 Network, specially those that are located in the dry farmings of Lleida and which have partly been reduced in the most recent proposal. The conservation of these areas is very important if it is wanted to guarantee the substitution of the adult individuals that die annually in their breeding territories.

We hope that the Departament de Medi.Ambient i Habitatge of the Generalitat de Catalunya has in consideration these arguments, as well as the more detailed proposals of enlargement of the Natura 2000 Network that are included in the presented technical report and that are considered of vital importance to guarantee the conservation of the Catalan population of Bonelliís eagle.