The population of predatory species such as the iberian imperial eagle (aquila adalberti) or the black vulture (Aegypius monachus), threatened species, has increased “very significantly” in Castilla y León, according to the results obtained in the latest monitoring report of the Community Biodiversity Conservation Status Monitoring Plan. The imperial eagle was on the verge of extinction in the mid-20th century and is managing to recover throughout the Peninsula.
In the case of the imperial eagle, a total of 131 territories were counted in 2021 (last year for which data are available), distributed among the provinces of segovia (47), Avila (43), Valladolid (27), Burgos (6), Palencia (3), Salamanca (3) and Zamora (1), as reported by sources from the Junta de Castilla y León in a statement collected by Europa Press.
Full reproduction monitoring was performed on 118 couples, with a total of 190 chicks flown in 104 different territories. These results indicate that the population trend of the imperial eagle in Castilla y León has been “clearly positive”, going from the 17 territories inhabited by the species in 1989 to 131 in 2021.
This strong population increase has been accompanied by a notable increase in area of distributionsince it has gone from 6 or 7 UTM grids of ten by ten kilometers occupied by the species in 1989, to 94 grids in 2021.
The black vulture also recovers
On the other hand, in the census of black vulture of 2021, 597 pairs have been recorded distributed in 7 nesting nuclei and 23 breeding colonies.
Complete reproduction monitoring was performed in a total of 590 couples, with a total of 363 chicks flown. The species is distributed throughout the provinces of Ávila (269 pairs), Burgos (15), Salamanca (120) and Segovia (193), confirming its positive trend both in the number of troops, going from 134 pairs in 1991 to 597. 2021, as well as in the recovery of part of its historical distribution area (with an increase of 20 UTM grids of ten by ten kilometers between the year 2000 and 2021).
Correction of power lines
The Junta de Castilla y León blames this situation of increasing populations to the application of correction measures for dangerous power linesas well as the sustainable forest management practices applied in Castilla y León and the existence of forest planning and management instruments in public and private forests, “whose purpose is the conservation and improvement of forest masses, as well as the protection of the existing biodiversity in them”.
The regional administration has encouraged the application of management criteria compatible with forest species for almost two decades, drawing up a manual that defines management criteria of the forest masses of the Community and whose objective is to make forest management and use compatible with the conservation of species.
In a complementary way, in Castilla y León, the approval of forest management instruments and their forest certification have been carried out, under the PEFC and FSC seals. Specifically, the Community presents 1,011,932 hectares of territory with a forest planning document, of which 775,045 are managed by the Board and the rest are forests under a private regime.
In the specific case of the imperial eagle, of the 131 territories located in the year 2021, approximately 31 percent (41 territories) were located on mountains with planning instruments in force (65 percent), which implies a total area of 40,460 hectares of forests managed through forest planning instruments with the presence of the imperial eagle.
In the case of the black vulture, of the 597 pairs located, 471 are located in forests classified as public utility, for 126 territories in forests under a private regime. The percentage of pairs located on public and private forests with a forest management instrument in force rises to 72 percent (428 pairs), of which 84 percent of the forests are managed by the Junta de Castilla y León (32 forests classified as public utility with planning instruments in force), and 16 percent privately managed. This represents a total area of 76,728 hectares with forest planning instruments with the presence of black vultures.
Today, the most important threats are related to the death of specimens by collision and/or electrocution in power linesthe decrease in certain areas of its main prey species, the rabbit (in the case of the imperial eagle) and mortality in the nest derived from natural causes and/or related to human activities, such as disturbances during the breeding season due to work of various kinds (agricultural, hunting, forestry) and for activities related to leisure in areas surrounding the nests.
The inconveniences derived from human activities are easier to avoid in those territories included in mountains with a planning instrument in force, where the various forest uses that they present are considered, regulated and delimited, both in their planning, as in the programming of silvicultural activities to be executed, making possible both the conservation, rational use and continued persistence of forest masses, as well as the settlement, stabilization and expansion of these species in Castilla y León.
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