The reduction of habitat fragmentation

Name: The reduction of habitat fragmentation
Researchers: Malíček Jiří (member of research team)
Vondrák Jan (member of research team)
Project Type: C - other (Research and development projects of ministries, contracts and agreements on targeted research and cooperation, etc.)
Realization from: 2015
Realization to: 2016
Summary: There is a continuous decline in populations of many species and the overall biodiversity loss associated with advancing habitat fragmentation in the cultural landscape especially due to agriculture intensification, increasing urbanization and road density. The aim of the project is comprehensive risk assessment of habitat fragmentation for both selected groups of organisms and landscape as a whole in the Czech Republic. The complexity of this project consists in solving the habitat fragmentation problems in terms of large taxa (birds, amphibians, invertebrates, lichens), various types of fragmented areas (wetlands, highways, stone quarries), effects associated with fragmentation (connectivity) as well as in terms of different spatial scales (regional, nationwide). The project includes proposing of appropriate management measures to reduce the fragmentation effects. The project consists of 11 subsections within which specific parts of the habitat fragmentation problems are solved. For the landscape as a whole, the optimal block size of arable land will be determined with regard to the balance between economic and ecological requirements. Habitat fragmentation and connectivity will be solved in terms of species with different dispersibility capabilities both at the local and regional level. The current data on distribution of all breeding birds of the Czech Republic will be used to indicate the fragmentation of landscape elements. Due to high fragmentation of wetland habitats is this ecosystem selected for comprehensive assessment from multiple perspective. The effect of habitat conditions both on occurence and abundace of wintering waterbirds will be analysed in order to propose measures leading to creation of a network of wetlands localities ensuring the stability of wintering waterbird populations. In the fragmented pond landscape, the abundance and survival of waterbird chicks will be assessed, as well as the factors influencing these phenomena. Furthermore, the risks related to moving to the localities with better food sources will be evaluated. Meadow waders will be studied in agricultural landscape and wetlands within it to assess the possibilities to support the nesting populations and existing nesting sites in fragmented landscape. In amphibians, the aim is the analysis of factors contributing most to their mortality on the roads. Therefore, completion of the database, mapping, prediction and validation of critical road sections for amphibians will be carried out. Highways will be assessed in order to determine the role of highway slopes and cuts as potential migration corridors and refuges for invertebrates with different life strategies and mobility. At the national level, the importance of stone quarries and their surrounding landscape will also be assessed for the invertebrate diversity. In necrophagous beetles, collecting data on changes in their distribution will be used to proposing measures to achieve landscape permeability for these invertebrates. On the basis of the detailed inventory of epiphytic lichen diversity, the conditions of old-growth forest fragments will also be evaluated. This project allows combining results with previous studies as well as to create possibilities for further research. The results of the project will be published in scientific journals, presented at scientific conferences, workshops for students and also to local government authorities.

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