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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 46.2 (2023) Pages: 127-137

A spatial tool to identify potential conflict hotspots for the European ground squirrel in agricultural land

Poledník, L., Mateos-González, F., Poledníková, K.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2023.46.0127

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Abstract

Some of the hardest challenges in conservation are those situations which occur when endangered species' and human interests collide. The European ground squirrel Spermophilus citellus, a mainly herbivorous rodent which feeds on agricultural crops when available, is an endangered species facing extinction in several countries. Sustainable conservation of the species can only be achieved in collaboration with all stakeholders, particularly farmers. However, in the past, this species was considered a pest, and farmers actively persecuted it, using invasive methods such as trapping and poisoning. In this situation, early monitoring and prevention are the best tools to minimise and mitigate potential conflicts. We developed a risk model to assess the potential for crop damages by ground squirrels, using data from three different locations with agricultural mosaic landscape in the Czech Republic. Our model is based on four parameters: occurrence and density of ground squirrels, migration potential, and type of habitat. The resulting model provides a graphical map of the local potential risk of crop damage. These maps can complement the regular monitoring of the European ground squirrel and its potential effects on agriculture, aiding the implementation of proactive management strategies to prevent conflicts and support the sustainable conservation of the species.

Keywords

Spermophilus citellus, Crop damages, Sustainability, Preventive measures, Palliative measures, Spatial model

Cite

Poledník, L., Mateos-González, F., Poledníková, K., 2023. A spatial tool to identify potential conflict hotspots for the European ground squirrel in agricultural land. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 46: 127-137, DOI: http://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2023.46.0127

Reception date:

23/01/2023

Acceptation date:

24/05/2023

Publication date:

22/07/2023

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