Assessing the ability of novel ecosystems to support animal wildlife through analysis of diurnal raptor territoriality.
Authors of this article are:
Martínez-Hesterkamp S, Rebollo S, Pérez-Camacho L, García-Salgado G, Fernández-Pereira JM.
A summary of the article is shown below:
Novel ecosystems have emerged through human intervention and are rapidly expanding around the world. Whether they can support animal wildlife has generated considerable controversy. Here we developed a new approach to evaluate the ability of a novel forest ecosystem, dominated by the exotic tree species Eucalyptus globulus, to support animal wildlife in the medium and long term. To evaluate this ability, we took advantage of the fact that species territory size decreases with increasing habitat quality, and we used territoriality of a raptor guild composed of Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (A. nisus) and Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) as indicator. We compared the territoriality of these species in the novel ecosystem with that in other ecosystems found in the literature. Average distances between con-specifics in the novel ecosystem were similar, or even shorter, than those in other ecosystems. Average distances between Goshawk con-specifics were among the shortest described in the literature. All three species nested preferably in mixed stands abundant in large exotic trees, with high structural complexity and abundance of native species within the stand. Key factors supporting this diverse and dense raptor community were the special forest management system implemented in the study area and the agricultural matrix located close to forest plantations that complements the supply of prey. Our results suggest that forest management that promotes a complex and suitable forest structure can increase the ability of novel forest ecosystems to support wildlife biodiversity, particularly a diverse nesting community of forest-dwelling raptors and their preys. The results further suggest the suitability of territoriality for assessing this potential of novel ecosystems.
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