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Differences in home-range sizes of a bird species in its original, refuge and substitution habitats: challenges to conservation in anthropogenic habitats

TitreDifferences in home-range sizes of a bird species in its original, refuge and substitution habitats: challenges to conservation in anthropogenic habitats
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuteursGodet, L, Harmange, C, Marquet, M, Joyeux, E, Fournier, J
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Volume27
Pagination719-732
Résumé

In the current context of the anthropocene, the original habitats of many species have been modified or destroyed. Animals may be forced to move from their original habitats, either to refuge habitats that are suboptimal natural habitats, or to substitution habitats that are anthropogenic. The quality of refuge habitats may be lower than that of the original ones, whereas substitution habitats may be of a similar or even better quality. Here, we test this hypothesis empirically, using the example of coastal populations of the bluethroat, Luscinina svecica namnetum. In a radio-tracking survey, we compared the home-range sizes (considered here a proxy of habitat quality) of the breeding males in their original (coastal saltmarshes), refuge (inland reedbeds) and substitution (coastal salinas) habitats. We found that home ranges are up to 15 times larger in the substitution habitat than in the original one, and intermediate in the refuge habitat, suggesting that substitution habitats have the lowest quality and original habitats the highest. To date, most studies and
conservation programs related to this species have focused on its substitution habitats. This result challenges the interest of focusing on anthropogenic habitats when studying and conserving such a species, because such habitats may only be low-quality substitutes.

DOI10.1007/s10531-017-1460-3