Modelling the spatial distribution and habitat selection of Dupont's Lark Chershopilus duponti in northern Spain

Aims: Dupontīs lark is an endangered species due to different pressure factors, mainly linked to changes in the composition and structure of steppe landscapes due to agriculture activities. The multiple aim is (1) to census the population of dupontís lark in a Natura Network area, (2) to develop spatial models to assess the driving factors of their spatial pattern and take into account the spatial fragmentation of their habitat patches, and (3) to develop a map of the probability presence of dupontís lark in order to support conservation strategies. Location: Nature Network area in northern Spain (Ebro Basin). Methods: Census mapping using GPS; Generalised Additive Models, GAM, as non-parametric regression tool inserted in a GIS framework. Results and Conclusions: Density is around 0.40 - 0.51 per 10 ha. Dupontís lark shows a high habitat preference related to sparse steppe areas, flat areas and scarcely fragmented landscapes. Incorrect interpretations of Community Agrarian Policy (CAP) are over-exploiting steppe areas and putting in danger the viability of this species in this area. Modelling approaches to evaluate the spatial pattern of endangered species and GIS tools could support management decisions in Nature Networks areas.