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Blakiston’s Fish-owl Bubo blakistoni and logging: Applying resource selection information to endangered species conservation in Russia


Blakiston's Fish-owl Bubo blakistoni is classified as ‘Endangered’ by IUCN; this species is associated with riparian old-growth forests in north-east Asia, a landscape threatened by a variety of impacts (e.g. logging, agricultural development, human settlement). We examined a 20,213 km2 study area in Primorye, Russia, and assessed the ability of the protected area network to conserve Blakiston's Fish-owls by analysing resource selection of radio-marked individuals. Based on resource selection functions, we predicted that 60–65 Blakiston's fish-owl home ranges could occur within the study area. We found that the protected area network within our study area contained only 19% of optimal Blakiston's fish-owl habitat and contained only eight potential home ranges (five of these within a single protected area—Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve). We also found that 43% of optimal Blakiston's Fish-owl habitat was within current logging leases; lands capable of supporting habitat equivalent to 24 home ranges. The remaining optimal habitat (38%) was on federal land and potentially contained 28–33 Blakiston's Fish-owl home ranges. The current protected area network, by itself, is not sufficient to conserve the species because relatively few home ranges are actually protected. Therefore, outside of protected areas, we recommend protecting specific locations within potential home ranges that likely contain suitable nest and foraging sites, maintaining integrity of riparian areas, modifying road construction methods, and closing old and unused logging roads to reduce anthropogenic disturbance to the owls and the landscape.

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Bird Conservation International
  • ISSN: 0959-2709
  • EISSN: 1474-0001
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