New study models the proposed reintroduction of the Eurasian lynx to Scotland

phys.org | 3/29/2019 | Staff
Les7799 (Posted by) Level 3
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Experts have used an innovative approach to model the proposed reintroduction of the Eurasian lynx to Scotland.

Researchers used state-of-the-art tools to help identify the most suitable location for lynx reintroduction in Scotland – and how this choice might affect the size of a population and its expansion over subsequent decades. Significantly, they believe their model will inform and enhance decision-making around large carnivore reintroductions worldwide.

Work - Tom - Ovenden - Masters - Environmental

The work was led by Tom Ovenden as his Masters in Environmental Forestry research project at Bangor University, with support from the University of Aberdeen.

Mr Ovenden said: "Reintroducing large carnivores is often complicated and expensive, meaning that getting things right first time is extremely important. Therefore, advances in modelling approaches, as utilised during our study, are extremely valuable.

Research - Reintroduction - Sites - Models - Way

"Our research considered several proposed reintroduction sites, showing how these models can be used as a safe and relatively inexpensive way of assessing the suitability of reintroduction proposals and providing the evidence required to inform decision-making at an early stage.

"Recent advances in both ecological theory and modelling approaches have made the incorporation of individual species' complex behaviours in novel environments more realistic. We applied this approach to the potential reintroduction of Eurasian lynx in Scotland – and demonstrated the power of this new, sophisticated model. Our research demonstrates the potential of this approach to be applied elsewhere to help improve reintroduction success in large carnivores, from the safety of a modelling environment."

Lynx - UK - Period - Years - Years

The lynx is thought to have become extinct in the UK during the medieval period, around 1,300 years ago. In recent years, its potential reintroduction has been widely debated.

Using current land cover data, Mr Ovenden conducted an initial desk-based study to establish the current location and extent of suitable forest habitat for lynx in Scotland, updating historic work. Further research to identify the demographic and dispersal characteristics of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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