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Long-term trends of local bird populations based on monitoring schemes: Are they suitable for justifying management measures?

September 25, 2023

Local biodiversity monitoring is important to assess the effects of global change, but also to evaluate the performance of landscape and wildlife protection, since large-scale assessments may buffer local fluctuations, rare species tend to be underrepresented, and management actions are usually implemented on local scales. We estimated population trends of 58 bird species using open-population N-mixture models based on count data in two localities in southeastern Spain, which have been collected according to a citizen science monitoring program (SACRE, Monitoring Common Breeding Birds in Spain) over 21 and 15 years, respectively. We performed different abundance models for each species and study area, accounting for imperfect detection of individuals in replicated counts. After selecting the best models for each species and study area, empirical Bayes methods were used for estimating abundances, which allowed us to calculate population growth rates (λ) and finally population trends. We also compared the two local population trends and related them with national and European trends, and species functional traits (phenological status, dietary, and habitat specialization characteristics). Our results showed increasing trends for most species, but a weak correlation between populations of the same species from both study areas. In general, local population trends were consistent with the trends observed at national and continental scales, although contrasting patterns exist for several species, mainly with increasing local trends and decreasing Spanish and European trends. Moreover, we found no evidence of a relationship between population trends and species traits. We conclude that using open-population N-mixture models is an appropriate method to estimate population trends, and that citizen science-based monitoring schemes can be a source of data for such analyses. This modeling approach can help managers to assess the effectiveness of their actions at the local level in the context of global change.

Publication Year 2023
Title Long-term trends of local bird populations based on monitoring schemes: Are they suitable for justifying management measures?
DOI 10.1007/s10336-023-02114-3
Authors Antonio J. Hernández-Navarro, Francisco Robledano, María V. Jiménez-Franco, Andy Royle, José F. Calvo
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Ornithology
Index ID 70249372
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Ecological Science Center