American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Birds as a Tool for Island Habitat Conservation and Management

Pedro Rodrigues and Regina Tristao da Cunha

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2012.5.10

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 8, Issue 1

Pages 5-10

Abstract

Problem statement: The Azores is a archipelago of nine volcanic islands, situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. Oceanic islands are known hotspots of biodiversity and the Azores, although relatively young (0.3-13 MA), conform to this general pattern. The local avifauna amount to 37 birding species, with two endemic species and 11 endemic subspecies. With an estimated population of 240,000 inhabitants, with increasing needs, most of the natural habitats that support bird populations are under a constant pressure. The use of bird distribution and species richness could be used as a suitable tool for management and would also be effective when applied in other archipelagos. Approach: In the course of the Bionatura project, the Atlantis Tierra 2.0 software provided the storage of biological data from all the islands, including the avifauna, in a 500×500 m grid. As an outcome, important items for bird conservation and habitat management were achieved for all the species occurring in the archipelago, including species richness. Results: A detailed knowledge of the spatial distribution of the endemic species and sub-species, plus the protected species, is a powerful tool for conservation and management policies in small islands where biodiversity is usually restricted to narrow distributions. Conclusion: The results defined an area of 39, 273 h (16.8% of Azores total area); providing an ideal area for conservation of suitable habitats for bird’s species in the Azores.

Copyright

© 2012 Pedro Rodrigues and Regina Tristao da Cunha. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.