DE ANGELO Carlos Daniel
congresos y reuniones científicas
Using GIS for evaluating habitat availability for species reintroduction: the case of the jaguars in the Iberá Reserve in Argentina
DE ANGELO, CARLOS; JIMÉNEZ PEREZ, IGNACIO; PAVIOLO, AGUSTÍN; DI BITETTI, MARIO
Conferencia; 15th Annual Conference of the Society for Conservation GIS; 2012
Society for Conservation GIS
The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest felid of the American Continent but it became extinct from most of the southern South America, including most of Argentina. The Iberá Reserve is a large protected area of 1.3 million hectares in the Northeast of Argentina, which protect the largest wetland of the country. In this area, jaguars were common until the 20th century when humans start eliminating this species and its prey from the entire region, and the last jaguar was killed around 1950. In the last decades, a reduction of human pressures in combination with increasing efforts of governmental and private conservation actions favored the recovery of many species of Iberá and triggered the discussion about the possibility of reintroducing jaguars. One of the main aspects for this species reintroduction is the evaluation of habitat availability, but considering in this analysis the possible conflicts and human pressures that still persist in the area. With this aim we developed GIS layers and combined them in a multi-criteria analysis for predicting the availability of habitat for jaguars in Iberá. We used the information available about jaguars in other regions to construct two models: the habitat condition model (including landscape characteristics, vegetation and prey distribution) and a human pressure model (including distance to human infrastructures, human accessibility, abundance of cattle, among others). We combined these models using a twodimensional approach. This approach allowed us to differentiate 250,000 ha of potential core areas for jaguar reintroduction (with good habitat and low human pressures) and the potential sink areas and barriers for the species (with poor habitat and high human pressures). Additionally, these combination of models identified those potentially conflictive areas that jaguars may select because their good habitat conditions but with high risk because human pressures (very important for future management), and those areas with poor habitat conditions but low human pressures that could be useful as buffer areas or corridors (>400,000 ha). Extrapolating the known density of jaguar in other regions, our results suggest that the Iberá Reserve has available habitat to sustain a population of between 25 to 150 jaguars, with an average of ~70 individuals living inin core areas with good habitat and low human pressures.