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Surveying carnivores at large spatial scales: a comparison of four broad-applied methods

Surveying carnivores at large spatial scales: a comparison of four broad-applied methods Reliable methods to estimate species richness are very important to managers and conservationists because they provide key data to make the right decisions in conservation programmes. In the case of carnivore mammals, traditional methods, such as direct count censuses, are not useful since these animals are usually scarce, elusive and nocturnal. Difficulties in carnivore sampling are compounded when monitoring programmes are developed at large spatial scales, where high economic costs and field efforts are necessary to achieve reliable richness or abundance estimates. These problems have highlighted the need to find more effective carnivore survey methods, especially in regions with high rates of landscape change, such as the Mediterranean basin. The present study, performed in a typical Mediterranean area, was the first in Europe to test simultaneously the relative efficiencies of four broad-applied sampling methods to detect carnivore species at large spatial scales. Sign surveys based on scat detection, scent stations, camera-trapping and live-trapping were investigated. We compared efficiencies using biological parameters and by considering both the logistic and economic costs of each method. Overall, scent stations and sign surveys were the most efficient methods both in economic and logistic terms. In addition, the use of scent stations may be necessary to detect species rarely detected by scats. Detailed and extensive training programmes for conducting sign surveys and scent stations may overcome perceived problems thus enhancing the widespread use of both methods. Our results are applicable not only to other Mediterranean areas, but also to other habitats and regions of the world. More research into the suitability of these and other methods in relation to different landscapes, seasons and species is required. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biodiversity and Conservation Springer Journals

Surveying carnivores at large spatial scales: a comparison of four broad-applied methods

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References (83)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Life Sciences; Evolutionary Biology; Plant Sciences; Tree Biology
ISSN
0960-3115
eISSN
1572-9710
DOI
10.1007/s10531-006-9114-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Reliable methods to estimate species richness are very important to managers and conservationists because they provide key data to make the right decisions in conservation programmes. In the case of carnivore mammals, traditional methods, such as direct count censuses, are not useful since these animals are usually scarce, elusive and nocturnal. Difficulties in carnivore sampling are compounded when monitoring programmes are developed at large spatial scales, where high economic costs and field efforts are necessary to achieve reliable richness or abundance estimates. These problems have highlighted the need to find more effective carnivore survey methods, especially in regions with high rates of landscape change, such as the Mediterranean basin. The present study, performed in a typical Mediterranean area, was the first in Europe to test simultaneously the relative efficiencies of four broad-applied sampling methods to detect carnivore species at large spatial scales. Sign surveys based on scat detection, scent stations, camera-trapping and live-trapping were investigated. We compared efficiencies using biological parameters and by considering both the logistic and economic costs of each method. Overall, scent stations and sign surveys were the most efficient methods both in economic and logistic terms. In addition, the use of scent stations may be necessary to detect species rarely detected by scats. Detailed and extensive training programmes for conducting sign surveys and scent stations may overcome perceived problems thus enhancing the widespread use of both methods. Our results are applicable not only to other Mediterranean areas, but also to other habitats and regions of the world. More research into the suitability of these and other methods in relation to different landscapes, seasons and species is required.

Journal

Biodiversity and ConservationSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 3, 2006

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