Spatial use and habitat selection

Habitat loss due to changes in land use caused by human development, the implementation of large infrastructures (roads, quarries, wind farms, etc.), the replacement of agricultural or forestry land by industrial or residential, or the reduction of traditional activities such as extensive agriculture and livestock, are pointed out as the causes for the decline of many threatened species. This means that knowledge of the spatial use by these species is required in order to implement effective conservation actions. There is still a lack of knowledge on this information, which is usually focused on determining the breeding areas for territorial individuals, due to reproduction is often considered the most important period or because information on this period is easier to obtain.  However, breeding success and survival for many raptors depend on large areas that not only include the breeding areas but also hunting or foraging areas sometimes far away from the nest.

Due to the lack of information for species such as the Bonelli’s eagle or the Egyptian vulture, the annual monitoring of breeding territories and several techniques to track animal movements such as direct observations, radiotracking or the use of GPS-Satellite telemetry, allow us to obtain relevant information for the conservation of these species, specifically, factors determining territory selection, territory size or the most used areas and habitats. Thanks to this information, conservation measures would benefit these “umbrella” species, as well as several other species living in those territories. Some of these conservation measures might be sustainable land-use planning to avoid habitat destruction, the regulation of human activities in breeding areas and particularly during the breeding period or focusing the mitigation of mortality causes in the most used areas.

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