Improving conservation strategies of raptors through landscape ecology analysis. the case of the endemic Cuban black hawk
Ferrer-Sanchez, Yarelys; Rodriguez-Estrella, Ricardo; Martínez-Morales, Miguel Ángel (2020), Improving conservation strategies of raptors through landscape ecology analysis. the case of the endemic Cuban black hawk, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kwh70rxzv
1. Raptor species conservation should consider a landscape perspective in order to include habitat requirements associated to large home ranges around nesting sites. Landscape analysis can help to better understand raptor habitat requirements and the degree of tolerance to habitat changes at different scales.
2. We used a landscape ecology perspective to determine the nesting habitat selection of endemic and endangered Cuban Black Hawk, and using ecological niche modelling we obtained the potential distribution of nests to evaluate the effectiveness of protected areas (PAs) for raptor conservation.
3. Nesting habitat selection was related to breeding success at a landscape scale using data from 27 different nesting sites during 2012-2013 breeding seasons. The potential nesting areas distribution was compared with current officially PAs design in the central region of Cuba.
4. All nests were located in mangrove swamp. Pairs chose nesting sites with low soil-vegetation moisture and low soil reflectance. At the landscape level, they selected low shape complexity of patches and few patches of coastal vegetation around nesting sites which contained similar mangrove patch size and shape. The potential distribution of nests increased close to the coastline. The model predicted a suitable narrow area of 556 km2, and the most favourable nesting area represented 2% of this total. A 33% of nests were located within officially natural protected areas while 27% were close to or inside highly threatened areas. A 16% of high to medium suitable nesting habitat overlaps with urban areas. Currently, PAs contain 23% of the nesting area distribution.
5. Our study shows landscape ecology and nest-site selection approach is crucial to evaluate the persistence of Cuban Black Hawk, as environmental variables and human activity can be related to its productivity. This approach can be applied in conservation strategies of island raptors.