Suitable areas for conservation of biodiversity, A case with wintering habitat of Asian houbara bustard, Chlamydotis macqueenii in Sistan, Iran
Keywords:Environmental variables, modeling, wildlife management
Numerous published research in habitat suitability of various flora and fauna species show that habitat conservation is the most important component of biodiversity conservation. Among wildlife species, some are more important due to the declining population and known ecological importance. In fact, these species can be used as an indicator to consider new places or modify conservation areas' boundaries. The complexity of allocating land for conservation increases when species become more dependent on artificial and semi-artificial lands, due to the destruction of natural habitats. The present study was conducted to investigate the suitability habitat of Asian houbara bustard as a rare species that faced a sharp decline in population in recent decades in part of its wintering habitat in Sistan. The method for assessing habitat suitability was Maxent. The results showed that the most important environmental variables were the distance from human settlements and agricultural lands. This species has a strong tendency to human-made areas. Although part of its suitable habitat overlaps with protected areas, conservation of this species has not been adequate so far, and a sharp decline was seen in its population in recent years. The results of this study emphasize the need to take management measures to reduce the conflict of interest between humans and this bird and increase public participation in the conservation of this species.
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