, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 73-79

Modelling habitat use by Iberian hare Lepus granatensis and European wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus in a mountainous area in northwestern Spain

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Abstract

We developed broad-scale habitat use models for the distribution of the Iberian hare Lepus granatensis Rosenhaeur, 1856 and the relative abundance of the European wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus (Linnaeus, 1758) in a mountainous area in north-western Spain, the Baixa Limia Site of Community Importance (SCI). For the Iberian hare, the most parsimonious model included average altitude, average slope, scrub-pasture area and length of border between scrublands and forests. Four variables were consequential, 2 of them with a positive sign for the presence of the hare (average altitude and scrubland area) and 2 with a negative one (average slope and length of border between scrubland and forest). For the European wild rabbit the most parsimonious General Linear model obtained included average altitude and scrub-forest edge. Only 2 predictors were consequential, both with a negative sign on the relative abundance of wild rabbits: the average altitude and length of border between scrubland and forest. The models obtained indicated the need of management actions to favour open habitats with suitable vegetation structure, avoiding extensive reforestation. A revision of the current hunting plans in the protected area of Baixa Limia is required.

Associate editor was Magdalena Niedziałkowska.