Evaluating the Effectiveness of Pretected Areas in Preserving Habitats of Caspian Snowcock (Tetraogallus caspius), as a High-Altitude Specialist Species in Iran

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Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)
Abstract:

Specialized species living in high mountain areas face more threats compared to species living in low altitudes, primarily due to habitat destruction or fragmentation and climate change.The Caspian snowcock is a  species with a specialized ecological niche and serves as an indicator of mountain ecosystems. Despite the high sensitivity of this species to habitat changes and its role as an umbrella or flagship species in mountainous areas, there is a scarcity of data on the ecology of this species. In the current study, we predicted the geographical range of this bird using 262 presence localities and 10 environmental and anthropogenic variables within an ensemble framework, resulting from five modeling algorithms. Based on the ensemble model, about 96527.4 km2 (5.8%) of the country was identified as a suitable habitat for the Caspian snowcock. Potential habitats of the species appeared to be strongly influenced by topographical roughness (30.02), average annual temperature (29.61), altitude (18.57), and isothermality (14.14). About 16.04% and 23.13% of the predicted suitable range overlapped with no-hunting  and protected areas. It is suggested that effective conservation measures should be taken by focusing on the possible threats caused by human activities, including the development of tourism infrastructure, road networks, overgrazing, and poaching.

Language:
Persian
Published:
Iranian Journal of Applied Ecology, Volume:12 Issue: 45, 2023
Pages:
1 to 15
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