Space use data and systematic conservation planning inform habitat conservation priorities for brown bears in Romania
Pop, M., Iosif, R., Miu, V. I., Rozylowicz, L. and Popescu, V. (2018). Space use data and systematic conservation planning inform habitat conservation priorities for brown bears in Romania. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/108017
© the Authors, 2018
Recovery of large carnivores in the European human-dominated landscapes has sparked a debate regarding the optimal landscape conditions in which carnivores can thrive and coexist with humans (López-Bao et al. 2015). Here, we use brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the Romanian Carpathians to test and develop a framework for identifying habitat conservation priorities based on a novel integration of resource selection functions, home range data, and systematic conservation planning (Pop et al. 2018). We used a comprehensive GPS telemetry dataset from 18 individuals to (1) calculate sex-specific seasonal home ranges, and (2) characterize population-level habitat selection. We then used systematic conservation planning software Zonation to identify contiguous areas of high conservation value for males and females by using Manly’s habitat selection ratios as weights for habitat layers, and home range information as a smoothing parameter for habitat connectivity. Home ranges were smallest during winter (median [IQR] for November-February: 28.2 km2 [9.8-42.4]), and largest during the intense-feeding season (September-November: 127.3 km2 [62.2-288.5]), with males having larger home ranges across all seasons. Females consistently selected for mixed forest habitat during all seasons. Males selected mixed forest during winter; then switched to a rather generalist approach, selecting regenerating forest, and mixed and coniferous forests during low-feeding/reproduction and wild berries seasons. We identified large tracts of forest habitat (~14% of the landscape) that was selected across all seasons as key habitats for brown bear conservation in the Eastern Carpathians. Spatially, high-value winter habitat was the most dissimilar for both males and females, suggesting that conservation actions should focus on protecting contiguous denning habitat. These key findings can inform the management and conservation of the brown bear population in the Romanian Carpathians, currently plagued by high uncertainity in management outcomes (Popescu et al. 2016) by identifying critical intervention areas for maintaining landscape connectivity, enable transboundary management, and contribute to maintaining Favourable Conservation Status, an important target of European Union Strategy for Biodiversity. 1. López-Bao, J.V., Kaczensky, P., Linnell, J.D.C., Boitani, L. & Chapron, G. (2015). Carnivore coexistence: Wilderness not required. Science 348, 871–872. 2. Pop, M. I., R. Iosif, I. V. Miu, S. Chiriac, L. Rozylowicz, and V. D. Popescu. 2018. Combining resource selection functions and home range data to identify habitat conservation priorities for brown bears. Animal Conservation. in press 3. Popescu, V. D., K. A. Artelle, M. I. Pop, S. Manolache, and L. Rozylowicz. 2016. Assessing biological realism of wildlife population estimates in data-poor systems. Journal of Applied Ecology 53, 1248-1259 ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
MetadataShow full item record
- ECCB 2018 
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