Exotic pine plantations and the conservation of the threateaned red kite Milvus milvus in Gipuzkoa, northern Iberia

Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13157/arla.63.2.2016.sc3

Authors: Mikel OLANO, Haritz BEÑARAN, Maite LASO and Juan ARIZAGA

E-mail: jarizaga@aranzadi.eus

Published: Volume 63.2, September 2016. Pages 369-374.

Language: English

Keywords: countryside, forest policies, Gipuzkoa, Monterey pine Pinus radiate and raptor conservation


We describe red kite Milvus milvus nesting habitat in Gipuzkoa (Basque Country, northern Spain), a region under high human pressure where the traditional countryside has been extensively substituted by Monterey pine Pinus radiata plantations. All nests were 10-30 m up in Monterey pine stands 20-40 m tall. Forest patches were mono-specific and most comprised from 100 to over 1,000 trees. Vegetation cover around the nests was typical of the region, with a mosaic of meadows and forests, including exotic tree timber plantations. The fact that the red kite in Gipuzkoa breeds in Monterey pine plantations does not mean that this habitat constitutes a priority for its long-term conservation. However, its replacement by native forest should entail a gradual substitution of the old pine stands to guarantee the availability of sufficient tall, mature trees offering good conditions for red kite nests.

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