Covering over the cracks in conservation assessments at EU interfaces: A cross-jurisdictional ecoregion scale approach using the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra)

Neil Reid, Mathieu G. Lundy, Brian Hayden, Tony Waterman, Declan Looney, Deirdre Lynn, Ferdia Marnell, Robbie A. McDonald, William Montgomery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Throughout the European Union, the EC Habitats Directive requires that member states undertake national surveillance of designated species. Despite biological connections between-populations across-borders, national assessments need not be co-ordinated in any way. We conducted a trans-boundary assessment of the status of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) aimed at providing consistency across a single biogeographical unit, i.e. the island of Ireland, comprising two states, i.e. the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland). Our aim was to ensure consistency with previous assessments conducted separately in each state, and permit each Government to fulfil their separate statutory reporting commitments. The species range increased by 23% from 1996–2006 and 2007–11. The population estimate of 9400 [95%CI 8700–12,200] breeding females during 2010/11 was not significantly different from 8300 [95%CI 7600–9800] breeding females established as a baseline during 1981–82. Modelling of species-habitat associations suggested that available habitat was not limiting and no putative pressures recorded at sites surveyed negatively affected species occurrence. Thus, under the statutory parameters for assessing a species’ conservation status, i.e. range, population, habitat and future prospects, the otter was judged to be in ‘Favourable’ status throughout Ireland and in both discrete political jurisdictions. Thus, we provide a trans-boundary test case for EU member states that share habitats and species across ecoregions, ensuring conservation assessment data are standardised, synchronised, spatially consistent and, therefore, biologically relevant without compromising legal and administrative autonomy within separate jurisdictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume45
Early online date26 Apr 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

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