Conservation Biology Group

Threats and solutions

A local state is managed in the Cingles de Bertí area in order to improve biodiversity, sustainable game hunting and conservation of endangered species

A multi-part agreement made possible to manage a private state of 112 ha in the Cingles de Bertí area (Barcelona), in order to benefit conservation of biodiversity and particularly of the European Rabbit, The Red-legged Partridge and the European Hare, among others, which would also benefit endangered predators such as the Bonelli’s Eagle or the Eagle Owl, as well as to reduce the risk of wildfires, to recover traditional practices and to make them compatible with biodiversity conservation. The parts involved in this project were: the owner of the private state, the Conservation Biology Group of the University of Barcelona (writing of the Management Plan and directing the implementation of the measures), the ‘Diputació de Barcelona’ and the ‘Fundació Catalunya Caixa’ (funding the project) and the local Game Hunting Society (implementing the management actions, particularly those related to sustainable game hunting).

The management actions planned, which were progressively implemented since 2009, were the following: creation of open habitats such as open woods (dehesas), pastures and farmland patches, building of drinking troughs for wildlife and regulation of human presence.

After actions being implemented, an increase of Rabbit, Red-legged Partridge and European Hare populations has been observed, and the Bonelli’s Eagle pair living in the area has increased its breeding success. The success of this project has encouraged the parts to continue working on another close local state. This will reduce the risk of wildfires in an area that already suffered one in 1994, and will benefit not only endangered predators such as the Bonelli’s Eagle but also a wide variety of Mediterranean species.

Extensive livestock systems maintain open habitats favourable to the Rabbit, the Red-legged Partridges and the European Hare, preys of the Bonelli’s Eagle, and reduce the risk of wildfires.

The lack of water might be a factor limiting wildlife in Mediterranean areas. Therefore, building drinking troughs might benefit the Rabbit, the Red-legged Partridges, the European Hare and a wide variety of wildlife.