Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 35.2 (2012) Pages: 277-283

Landscape ecology and wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) habitat modeling in the Mediterranean region

Narce, M., Meloni, R., Beroud, T., Pléney, A., Ricci, J. C.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2012.35.0277

Abstract

Landscape modification is one of the reasons for the decrease in rabbit populations. The objective of this study was to model wild rabbit habitat using landscape ecology to create a diagnosis method able to assess habitat quality at a large scale. Rabbit presence/absence was recorded on 536 plots of 1 ha. Spotlight transect counts indicated a low relative abundance (KIA = 2.3 rabbits/km). We produced a land use map with metric precision using remote sensing. Water, bare soil, herbaceous, shrubs and trees were identified. Landscape structure and diversity were evaluated using variables available in FRAGSTATS. A logistic regression was performed to assess the link between rabbit presence/absence and landscape structure. Our results indicate that a suitable habitat has a high diversity, a medium number of patches and a small proportion of shrubs. These results could be used to diagnose the landscape prior to any management action to enhance rabbit populations and conversely be helpful as a tool of integrated control in the cases of local outbreaks with agricultural damages.

Keywords

Wild rabbit, Habitat modeling, Landscape pattern, Remote sensing, Mediterranean region

Cite

Narce, M., Meloni, R., Beroud, T., Pléney, A., Ricci, J. C., 2012. Landscape ecology and wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) habitat modeling in the Mediterranean region. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 35: 277-283, DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2012.35.0277

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Reception date:

22/12/2011

Acceptation date:

22/04/2012

Publication date:

06/11/2012

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