Hunting effects on Bird communities: the case of the province of Perugia

Velatta F.



Abstract:

This study aims to verify if there can be differences between protected and free hunting areas as regards bird populations, tak- ing into account the whole provincial territory of Perugia. Starting from a sample of 1266 points visited from year 2000 to year 2005 both in winter and in spring, 137 couples of points were individuated, each of them representing a point belonging to the protected territory and another belonging to the non-protected territory. The two groups of points (protected and non-protected) were compared according to the following parameters, calculated on a seasonal scale: species richness, total abundance, abundance of each species, abundance of some superspecific taxa , rarity index (Blana 1980). In winter, both species richness and total abundance were significantly greater within protected areas, the same showing a markedly higher value of the rarity index; significantly higher abundance values within protected stations were observed for 4 superspecific groups (Phasianidae, Falconiformes, Turdus , Corvidae) and for 10 species; only one superspe- cific group (Alaudidae) and 3 species were significantly more abundant within non-protected areas. In spring, no significant differences emerged between protected and non-protected areas in terms of richness, abundance and rarity index; only one superspecific group (Pha - sianidae) and 9 species came out to be significantly more abundant within the protected territory, 6 species within the free hunting area. The analysis undertaken reveals how during shooting season the hunting activity limits the settlement of the potential bird communities.