The temporary suspension of the hunting of the European turtle dove will represent an extraordinary opportunity to develop essential scientific studies for the implementation of a national management plan for the species
La State Commission for Natural Heritage and Biodiversity met last Thursday, February 4, 2021, to address the proposal of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge to include the European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) in the Spanish Catalog of Threatened Species in the Vulnerable category, which would have meant its consideration as a non-hunting species. The Autonomous Communities did not overwhelmingly support this proposal, but many presented an alternative proposal consisting of declare a temporary moratorium on its hunting until its population recovery is achieved and implement a recovery plan for the species.
El Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC – CSIC, UCLM, JCCM) He has been researching the ecology of the European turtle dove for some time and the conditions that allow its possible sustainable use. We are currently leading a project to develop a turtle dove adaptive hunting management mechanism, commissioned by the European Commission and in collaboration with research organizations in Spain, France and Portugal. This work includes the development of a population model for each migratory route in Europe, based on the best scientific information available, to be used as a tool for decision-making on hunting regulation.
The temporary suspension of the hunting of the European turtle dove will represent an extraordinary opportunity to develop essential scientific studies for the implementation of a national management plan for the species.
This model indicates that variations in survival have a greater impact on the evolution of populations than variations in productivity. Thus, a temporary suspension of the hunting of the European turtle dove will represent an extraordinary opportunity to develop essential scientific studies for a better future understanding of the effectiveness of hunting regulation measures. For example, it will make it possible to assess changes in the survival of individuals in the absence of hunting and, therefore, to quantify the impact of hunting, as well as to know to what extent hunting mortality is additive or compensatory with respect to other causes of mortality. . These aspects are key to predicting the impact of changes in hunting pressure on populations.
In this sense, the IREC has been developing a banding program (capture-marking-recapture) since 2018 to monitor the individual survival of the European turtle dove in two study areas of Castilla-La Mancha, in parallel with studies carried out from the same year in Catalonia by the Center for Forest Science and Technology of Catalonia (CTFC), and by the Office Française de la Biodiversité (former Office National de la Chasse et la Faune Sauvage) since 2000. However, It would be particularly interesting to expand this type of study in Spain during the suspension period to contribute to this work..
At IREC we have also been developing several research projects on the European turtle dove that will contribute to the design of recovery measures beyond the hunting regulation, for example, through habitat management proposals, as well as scientific evaluation of their effectiveness. We study factors that affect their reproduction and survival, the relationship between abundance and habitat, or the movements they make during and after reproduction to choose suitable feeding areas. This knowledge will be essential for the preparation of the national management plan, in whose need both the Ministry and the Autonomous Communities agree..