Population viability analyses (PVAs) are a useful technique in risk-assessment studies aimed at determining which demographic parameters are most influential in population persistence. Here, we incorporate demographic and environmental stochasticity in the construction of individual-based models integrating the effects of different scenarios in a PVA of the Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) and the endangered Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Spain. Scenarios were based on reasonable options of population management, including effects of supplementary feeding (decreasing mortality and increasing fecundity), extensive wind farm development (increasing mortality), and catastrophic events such as poisoning (decreasing fecundity and survival) or pollutant ingestion (decreasing fecundity but no effect on survival). Our results show that those measures affecting survival show higher negative effects on population growth rate than those affecting fecundity. The outcomes were different and highly depend on the initial conditions and the species considered, with stronger negative effects on Egyptian Vulture populations. For both species, under similar conditions, the effects of massive poisoning, even occurring at low time frequency, had stronger negative consequences in population trends than the pollutant accumulation, or other actions affecting survival, such as installation of wind farms. Measures aimed at improving survival and fecundity such as supplementary feeding at vulture restaurants give rise to positive population trends. The establishment of management actions aimed at improving the birds’ survival and increasing breeding success will probably boost the scavengers’ populations into an upward trend, which is particularly important in the case of the endangered Egyptian Vulture.
Integrating Effects of Supplementary Feeding, Poisoning, Pollutant Ingestion and Wind Farms of Two Vulture Species in Spain using a Population Viability Analysis
Title: Integrating Effects of Supplementary Feeding, Poisoning, Pollutant Ingestion and Wind Farms of Two Vulture Species in Spain using a Population Viability Analysis
March 04, 2011
Journal: Journal of Ornithology
Garcia-Ripolles, C.; Lopez, P. (2011). Integrating Effects of Supplementary Feeding, Poisoning, Pollutant Ingestion and Wind Farms of Two Vulture Species in Spain using a Population Viability Analysis. Journal of Ornithology, 152(4), 879-888.