Conservation of large carnivores in a human dominated landscape :habitat models and potential distribution


Falcucci, Alessandra.. (2007). Conservation of large carnivores in a human dominated landscape :habitat models and potential distribution. Theses and Dissertations Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections.

Conservation of large carnivores in a human dominated landscape :habitat models and potential distribution
Falcucci, Alessandra.
Carnivora--Habitat suitability index models--Italy Carnivora--Effect of human beings on--Italy Carnivora--Conservation--Italy Carnivora--Italy--Geographical distribution Brown bear--Habitat suitability index models--Italy Brown bear--Effect of human beings on--Italy Brown bear--Conservation--Italy Brown bear--Italy--Geographical distribution Wolves--Habitat suitability index models--Italy Wolves--Effect of human beings on--Italy Wolves--Conservation--Italy Wolves--Italy--Geographical distribution
Natural Resources
Large carnivores are particularly sensitive to human-induced changes in their habitat, and this has been particularly evident in the Italian context. Historically, wolves, bears and lynx were widespread throughout the entire Italian peninsula but in the last century lynx went extinct and the other two species were limited to small mountainous areas.;However, the pattern of land use change currently occurring throughout the Mediterranean basin could favor the return of large carnivore populations. In this context there is a clear need for scientifically sound conservation tools that can be used to avoid conflicts between carnivore populations and human activities.;I measured land-use/land-cover change occurring in Italy during the last 40 years, finding that most of the mountainous regions are changing towards a more natural condition as rural populations move to urban areas, favoring the recovery of the populations of ungulates and carnivores. Thus I used a series of habitat suitability models to predict possible conservation scenarios for the wolf and the brown bears.;In particular, using deductive habitat suitability models and Markov-chain land-use change models, I simulated the future habitat suitability for the brown bear through 2020. Habitat availability is not going to be a problem for its conservation in the future.;However, there are clear indications that the bears are experiencing a population decline, mainly linked to human related mortality. Using ecological niche factor analyses, I produced a double-layer habitat suitability model that combines the probability of presence with the probability of human-related mortality. Using this approach produced a map that contrasts source-like habitat with mortality sinks that could be extremely useful for the management of the species and its environment.;The Italian wolf is naturally returning in the whole Italian peninsula, and is now spreading through the alpine range. This is creating problems with stockmen. To address this challenge I created a composite habitat suitability model, using deductive modeling techniques together with ecological niche factor analysis and partitioned Mahalanobis distance to predict the potential distribution of the wolf along the entire Italian peninsula and the Alpine range. This model provides a conservation tool that can be used for transboundary management plans.
Thesis (Ph. D., Natural Resources)--University of Idaho, June 2007.
Major Professor:
Edward O. Garton.
Defense Date:
June 2007.
Format Original:
xi, 185 leaves :ill., col. maps ;29 cm.

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