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COORDINATION: Pedro Beja (Universidade do Algarve).

CEABN TEAM: Francisco Moreira (Coordenação) e Rui Morgado.

OTHER INSTITUTIONS: Centro de Ciências do Mar (Universidade do Algarve), Centro de Ecologia Aplicada (Universidade de Évora), Erena, Ordenamento e Gestão de Recursos Naturais, Lda.

Predation is a key ecological process in fragmented landscapes, which has been implicated in some bird population declines.

Ongoing land use changes in the Mediterranean region, with either agricultural intensification, abandonment or afforestation, are likely to increase predation rates by opportunistic predators, thus decreasing habitat suitability for several vulnerable bird species.

This study took place in an agricultural area of Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina (Southwest Portugal) and intended to analyse these issues. Specifically its objectives were:

i) to model the distribution of predators in relation to landscape features in arable farmland;

ii) to estimate the influence of predator patterns of occurrence on the distribution and abundance of ground-nesting birds;

iii) to model variation in predation risk as a function of characteristics of edge habitats; 

iv) to describe how predation risk influence nest-site choice and reproductive success of ground-nesting birds.