Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Predictive niche modelling to identify potential areas of conflicts between human activities and expanding predator populations: a case study of game management and the grey mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon, in Spain

Mariano R. Recio A B D and Emilio Virgós C

A Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.

B Spatial Ecology Research Facility (SERF), School of Surveying, University of Otago, Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.

C Escuela Superior de Ciencias Experimentales y Tecnología, Departamento Biología y Geología, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, C/Tulipán s/n, E-28933 Móstoles, Madrid, Spain.

D Corresponding author. Email: mariano.recio@gmail.com

Wildlife Research 37(4) 343-354 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR09096
Submitted: 22 July 2009  Accepted: 14 May 2010   Published: 28 June 2010

Abstract

Context. The grey mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon L., is a protected species in Spain. Populations of grey mongoose are currently increasing in numbers, and potential conflicts with human interests involving predation of small-game species, may arise in the near future.

Aims. We predicted potential suitable areas for the expansion of grey mongoose by using a niche modelling approach to detect areas of conflict with small-game hunting activities.

Methods. We compared these areas with regions in which small-game hunting is an important economic activity. To produce a niche-suitability map we used Maxent and an internal (data-splitting) validation to assess the predictive performance of the model. Areas in which small-game hunting is important were identified by using a rabbit-abundance index.

Key results. On the basis of suitability modelling, populations of grey mongoose will expand into southern and central Spain. The variables with higher predictive power are mainly climatic, although some mosaic habitat types are also important. Internal validation reveals a strong correspondence between predicted and observed records. The overlap of high-suitability areas with areas assigned with a high rabbit-abundance index indicated the existence of large regions of potential conflict with hunting interests.

Conclusions. Predictions of niche modelling can be used to detect conflict areas between expanding species and human interests. As a consequence of the expansion of the grey mongoose, the incidence of non-selective predator control may increase, thereby posing a threat to other protected predators.

Implications. Identified areas of likely conflict should be prioritised to delineate careful management programs in terms of people education, surveying, incentives and the detection of illegal predator-control activities.

Additional keywords: invasive species, niche modelling, Maxent, predator control, small game.


References

Austin M. P. 2002 a Spatial prediction of species distribution: an interface between ecological theory and statistical modeling. Ecological Modelling 157 101 118 doi:10.1016/S0304-3800(02)00205-3

Austin M. P. (2002 b). Case studies of the use of environmental gradients in vegetation and fauna modeling: theory and practice in Australia and New Zealand. In ‘Predicting Species Occurrences: Issues of Accuracy and Scale’. (Eds J. M. Scott, P. Heglund and M. L. Morrison.) pp. 64–73. (Island Press: Washington, DC.)

Beaumont L. J. Hughes L. Poulsen M. 2005 Predicting species distributions: use of climatic parameters in BIOCLIM and its impact on predictions of species’ current and future distributions. Ecological Modelling 186 251 270 doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2005.01.030

Borges P. A. V. Lobo J. M. Azevedo E. B. Gaspar C. Melo C. Nunes L. V. L. 2006 Invasibility and species richness of island endemic arthropods with environmental variables: a general model of endemic vs exotic species. Journal of Biogeography 33 169 187 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2005.01324.x

Borralho R. Rego F. Palomares F. Hora A. 1996 The distribution of the Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon (L.) in Portugal. Mammal Review 26 1 8 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2907.1996.tb00143.x

Carpenter G. Gillson A. N. Winter J. 1993 DOMAIN: a flexible modelling procedure for mapping potential distributions of plants and animals. Biodiversity and Conservation 2 667 680 doi:10.1007/BF00051966

Caughley G. Grice D. Barker R. Brown B. 1988 The edge of the range. Journal of Animal Ecology 57 771 785 doi:10.2307/5092

Colautti R. I. MacIsaac H. J. 2004 A neutral terminology to define ‘invasive’ species. Diversity & Distributions 10 135 141 doi:10.1111/j.1366-9516.2004.00061.x

Corbet G.B. (1984). ‘The Mammals of the Palaearctic Region: A Taxonomic Review. Supplement.’ (British Museum of Natural History: London.)

Delibes M. 1982 Notas sobre la distribución pasada y actual del meloncillo Herpestes ichneumon (L.) en la Península Iberica. Doñana Acta Vertebrata 9 341 352

Delibes M. Aymerich M. Cuesta L. 1984 Feeding habits of the Egyptian mongoose or ichneumon in Spain. Acta Theriologica 29 205 218


Didham R. K. Tylianakis J. M. Hutchison M. A. Ewers R. M. Gemmell N. J. 2005 Are invasive species the drivers of ecological change? Trends in Ecology & Evolution 20 470 474
doi:10.1016/j.tree.2005.07.006

Dobson M. 1998 Mammal distributions in the western Mediterranean: the role of human intervention. Mammal Review 28 77 88 doi:10.1046/j.1365-2907.1998.00027.x

EEA (2000). ‘Corine Land Cover 2000 (Europe).’ (European Environment Agency: Copenhagen, Denmark.)

Engler R. Guisan G. Rechsteiner L. 2004 An improved approach for predicting the distribution of rare and endangered species from occurrence and pseudo-absence data. Journal of Applied Ecology 41 263 274 doi:10.1111/j.0021-8901.2004.00881.x

Farfán M. A. Guerrero J. C. Real R. Barbosa M. Vargas M. 2004 Caracterización del aprovechamiento cinegético de los mamíferos en Andalucía. Galemys 16 41 59

Ferrer M. Negro J. J. 2004 The near extinction of two large European predators: super-specialists pay a price. Conservation Biology 18 344 349
doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00096.x

Ficetola G. F. Thuiller W. Miaud C. 2007 Prediction and validation of the potential global distribution of a problematic alien invasive species – the American bullfrog. Diversity & Distributions 13 476 485 doi:10.1111/j.1472-4642.2007.00377.x

Font I. (1983). ‘Climatología de España y Portugal.’ (Instituto Nacional de Meteorología: Madrid.)

Guisan A. Thuiller W. 2005 Predicting species distribution: offering more than simple habitat models. Ecology Letters 8 993 1009 doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00792.x

Guisan A. Broennimann O. Engler R. Vust M. Yoccoz N. G. Lehmann A. Zimmermann N. E. 2006 Using niche-based models to improve the sampling of rare species. Conservation Biology 20 501 511 doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00354.x

Hernández P. A. Graham C. H. Master L. L. Albert D. L. 2006 The effect of sample size and species characteristics on performance of different species distribution modelling methods. Ecography 29 773 785 doi:10.1111/j.0906-7590.2006.04700.x

Hijmans R. J. Cameron S. E. Parra J. L. Jones P. G. Jarvis J. 2005 Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. International Journal of Climatology 25 1965 1978 doi:10.1002/joc.1276

Hirzel A. H. Hausser J. Chessel D. Perrin N. 2002 Ecological niche-factor analysis: how to compute habitat-suitability maps without absence data? Ecology 83 2027 2036 doi:10.1890/0012-9658(2002)083[2027:ENFAHT]2.0.CO;2

Hobbs R. (2000). Land use changes and invasions. In ‘Invasive Species in a Changing World’. (Eds M. A. Mooney and J. Hobbs.) pp. 57–64. (Island Press: Washington, DC.)

Huberty C. J. (1994). ‘Applied Discriminant Analysis.’ (Wiley/Interscience: New York.)

Hulme P. E. 2006 Beyond control: wider implications for the management of biological invasions. Journal of Applied Ecology 43 835 847 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01227.x

Kleijn D. Baquero R. A. Clough Y. Díaz M. De Esteban J. et al 2006 Mixed biodiversity benefits of agri-environment schemes in five European countries. Ecology Letters 9 243 254 doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00869.x

Kurtén B. (1968). ‘Pleistocene Mammals of Europe.’ (Weidenfel and Nicolson: London.)

Liu C. R. Berry P. M. Dawson T. P. Pearson R. G. 2005 Selecting thresholds of occurrence in the prediction of species distributions. Ecography 28 385 393 doi:10.1111/j.0906-7590.2005.03957.x

Lobo J. M. Jimenez-Valverde A. Real R. 2008 AUC: a misleading measure of the performance of predictive distribution models. Global Ecology and Biogeography 17 145 151 doi:10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00358.x

MIMAM (1999). ‘Estrategia Para la Conservación del Lince Ibérico (Lynx pardinus).’ (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Comisión Nacional de Protección de la Naturaleza: Madrid.)

MIMAM (2001). ‘Estrategia Para la Conservación del Águila Imperial Ibérica.’ (Aquila adalberti).’ (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Comisión Nacional de Protección de la Naturaleza: Madrid.)

Palacios F. Gisbert J. Garcia-Perea R. 1992 Has the mongoose Herpestes ichneumon survived in the northwestern iIberian Peninsula? Saugetierkdliche Mitteilungen 34 67 71

Palomares F. 1993 Opportunistic feeding of the Egyptian mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon L., in southwestern Spain. Revue d’Ecologie: La Terre et la Vie 48 295 304


Palomares F. 1994 Site fidelity and effects of body mass on home-range size of Egyptian mongooses. Canadian Journal of Zoology 72 465 469
doi:10.1139/z94-065

Palomares F. (2002). Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758). Meloncillo. In ‘Atlas de los Mamíferos Terrestres de España’. (Eds J. Palomo and J. Gisbert.) pp. 286–289. (Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales: Madrid.)

Palomares F. (2004). Meloncillo – Herpestes ichneumon. In ‘Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles’. (Eds L. M. Carrascal and A. Salvador.) (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales: Madrid.) Available via DIALOG at http://www.vertebradosibericos.org [verified June 2010].

Palomares F. Delibes M. 1990 Habitat preference of large grey mongooses Herpestes ichneumon in Spain. Acta Theriologica 35 1 6

Palomares F. Delibes M. 1992 Circadian activity patterns of free-ranging large gray mongooses, Herpestes ichneumon, in southwestern Spain. Journal of Mammalogy 73 173 177
doi:10.2307/1381880

Palomares F. Delibes M. 1993 Key habitats for Egyptian mongooses in Doñana National Park, south-western Spain. Journal of Applied Ecology 30 752 758 doi:10.2307/2404253

Palomares F. Gaona P. Ferreras P. Delibes M. 1995 Positive effects on game species of top predators by controlling smaller predator populations: an example with lynx, mongooses, and rabbits. Conservation Biology 9 295 305 doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1995.9020295.x

Palomares F. Ferreras P. Fedriani J. M. Delibes M. 1996 Spatial relationships between Iberian lynx and other carnivores in an area of south-western Spain. Journal of Applied Ecology 33 5 13 doi:10.2307/2405010

Palomares F. Delibes M. Revilla E. Calzada J. Fedriani J. M. 2001 Spatial ecology of the Iberian lynx and abundance of European rabbits in southwestern Spain. Wildlife Monographs 148 1 36

Pearce J. Ferrier S. 2000 Evaluating the predictive performance of habitat models developed using logistic regression. Ecological Modelling 133 225 245 doi:10.1016/S0304-3800(00)00322-7

Pearson R. G. Dawson T. P. 2003 Predicting the impacts of climate change on the distribution of species: are bioclimate envelope models useful? Global Ecology and Biogeography 12 361 371 doi:10.1046/j.1466-822X.2003.00042.x

Pearson R. G. Dawson T. P. 2007 Predicting species distributions from small numbers of occurrence records: a test case using cryptic geckos in Madagascar. Journal of Biogeography 34 102 117 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2006.01594.x

Peinado M. , and Rivas-Martínez S. (1987). ‘La Vegetación de España.’ (Publicaciones Universidad de Alcalá: Madrid.)

Peterson A. T. 2003 Predicting the geography of species’ invasions via ecological niche modelling. The Quarterly Review of Biology 78 419 433 doi:10.1086/378926

Peterson A. T. Vieglais D. A. 2001 Predicting species invasions using ecological niche modeling. Bioscience 51 363 371 doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2001)051[0363:PSIUEN]2.0.CO;2

Phillips S. J. Anderson R. P. Schapire R. E. 2006 Maximum entropy modelling of species geographic distributions. Ecological Modelling 190 231 259 doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2005.03.026

Pimentel D. McNair S. Janecka J. Wightman J. Simmonds C. O’Connell C. Wong E. Zern J. Aquino T. Sornondo T. 2001 Economic and environmental threats of alien plant, animal, and microbe invasions. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 84 1 20 doi:10.1016/S0167-8809(00)00178-X

Pyšek P. , and Richardson D. M. (2007). Traits associated with invasiveness in alien plants: where do we stand? In ‘Biological Invasions’. (Ed. N. Nentwing.) pp. 97–125. (Springer: Berlin.)

REGHAB (2002). Reconciling gamebird hunting and biodiversity. In ‘V Forework Program of the European Union. Proposal Number: EKV-2000-00637’ (Geneva.)

Rodríguez A. Delibes M. 2004 Patterns and causes of non-natural mortality in the Iberian lynx during a 40-year period of range contraction. Biological Conservation 118 151 161 doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2003.07.018

Sala O. E. Chapin F. S. Armesto J. J. Berlow E. Bloomfield J. et al 2000 Biodiversity – Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287 1770 1774 doi:10.1126/science.287.5459.1770

San Miguel A. (2006). ‘Manual Para la Gestión del Hábitat del Lince Ibérico (Lynx pardinus) y su Presa Principal, el Conejo de Monte (Oryctolagus cuniculus).’ (Fundación CBD-Hábitat: Madrid.)

Santos-Reis M. Mathias M. L. 1996 The historical and recent distribution and status of mammals in Portugal. Hystrix 8 75 89

Soberón J. Peterson A. T. 2005 Interpretation of models of fundamental ecological niches and specie’s distributional areas. Biodiversity Informatics 2 1 10


Thuiller W. Richardson D. M. Pysek P. Midgley G. F. Hughes G. O. Rouget M. 2005 Niche-based modelling as a tool for predicting the risk of alien plant invasions at a global scale. Global Change Biology 11 2234 2250
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2005.001018.x

Thuiller W. Richardson D. M. Rouget M. Proches S. Wilson J. R. U. 2006 Interactions between environment, species traits, and human uses describe patterns of plant invasions. Ecology 87 1755 1769 doi:10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[1755:IBESTA]2.0.CO;2

Treves A. Naughton-Treves L. Harper E. Mladenoff D. J. Rose R. A. Sickley T. A. Wydeven A. P. 2004 Predicting human–carnivore conflict: a spatial model derived from 25 years of wolf predation on livestock. Conservation Biology 18 114 125 doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00189.x

Virgós E. Casanovas J. G. 1997 Habitat selection of genet Genetta genetta in the mountains of central Spain. Acta Theriologica 42 169 177

Virgós E. Travaini A. 2005 Relationship between small-game hunting and carnivore diversity in central Spain. Biodiversity and Conservation 14 3475 3486
doi:10.1007/s10531-004-0823-8

Virgós E. Cabezas-Díaz S. Malo A. Lozano J. Lopez-Huertas D. 2003 Factors shaping European rabbit abundance in continuous and fragmented populations of central Spain. Acta Theriologica 48 113 122

Virgós E. Cabezas-Díaz S. Lozano J. 2007 Is the wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) a threatened species in Spain? Sociological constraints in the conservation of species. Biodiversity and Conservation 16 3489 3504
doi:10.1007/s10531-006-9054-5

Vitousek P. M. D’Antonio C. M. Loope L. L. Rejmanek M. Westbrooks R. 1997 Introduced species: a significant component of human-caused global change. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 21 1 16

Woodroffe R. 2000 Predators and people: using human densities to interpret declines of large carnivores. Animal Conservation 3 165 173
doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2000.tb00241.x



Export Citation Cited By (6)