Seasonal changes in distribution of suitable habitats for Persian goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) in Isfahan province
Keywords:Goitered gazelle, habitat suitability modeling, seasonal distribution, protected area network
Persian goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) is one of the globally and locally threatened bovines inhabiting plains of Iran. There are many studies conducted on suitability modeling of gazelles in Iran. However, seasonal variations in distribution of suitable habitat has not been studied, yet. Therefore, we studied seasonal distribution of suitable habitats for goitered gazelle in Isfahan province. To do so, independent occurrence data of gazelles were gathered from field surveys and records by game guards of Isfahan provincial office of environment in each season from spring 2017 to winter 2018. Maximum entropy approach was applied to relate the occurrence of gazelles in each season to environmental variables presenting topographic and anthropogenic conditions of the habitats. Results indicate that Elevation was the most important variable contributing to suitability models of gazelles in each season. Moreover, the distribution of suitable habitats in autumn differs drastically from other seasons. The current protected area network of Isfahan province indicates the lowest efficiency in conservation of suitable habitats occur in autumn the season for mating. Isfahan mostly encompass the suitable habitats for spring and the least situated suitable habitats belong to autumn. Based on our findings, we suggest that the current boundaries of protected area network in Isfahan should be reconsidered and redesigned to encompass seasonal suitable habitats for gazelles, specially mating season habitats.
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