Revue : Journal for Nature Conservation

Rapid response of a long-lived species to improved water and grazing management: The case of the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) in the Camargue, France

Auteurs :

S. Ficheux, A. Olivier, R. Fay, A. Crivelli, A. Besnard, A. Béchet

Résumé :

Among human activities, the effect of habitat management by grazing on population viability is ambigu-ous. Indeed, beneficial effects of grazing are expected by maintaining open meadows, but overgrazing issupposed to increase mortality by trampling. Grazing has been shown to negatively impact the survivalof European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) in the Camargue. Consequently, a new management plan wasdefined. We investigated the consequences of this management using capture–recapture methods toestimate variations of population sizes in this managed site and a control site over a 17 years period. Results show an increase of the number of adults and juveniles on the managed site after the manage-ment change. Our results suggest that improved water management with flooding in autumn providedbetter hibernation conditions, and that reduced grazing intensity in autumn/winter likely decreased therisk of trampling. Population size significantly increased in less than 4 years following the managementchange, probably by the relaxation of density-dependence. It is an original result for a long lived-speciessupposed to have an important time of resilience to perturbations.

Référence bibliographique complète

Sébastien FICHEUX, Anthony OLIVIER, Rémi FAY, Alain CRIVELLI, Aurélien BESNARD, Arnaud BECHET. Rapid response of a long-lived species to improved water and grazingmanagement: The case of the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) in the Camargue, France. Journal for Nature Conservation (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2014.03.001

* Auteur correspondant : Sébastien Ficheux