As a globally threatened species, the lesser kestrel’s long-term conservation requires the development of management plans that establish the means to reach the objectives through the development of actions in different fields within a given time-frame.
The preparation of these documents requires previous knowledge about the species and field work to improve or expand on the available information on behaviour, ecology and conservation status.
In Extremadura, the Management Plans are the key instruments for the management of catalogued species and their habitats.
The lesser kestrel is listed as Sensitive to Alteration of its Habitat in the Regional Catalogue of Threatened Species in Extremadura (Decree 37/2001, of 6th March, which regulates the Regional Catalogue of Threatened Species in Extremadura), thus making a Habitat Conservation Plan for this species obligatory.
In this LIFE project, activities will be undertaken which will enhance our knowledge of the situation of the population of the species and its use of habitat, and specifically feeding zones will be characterised. Furthermore, protocols will be established to ensure compatibility between the maintenance and restoration of buildings with the conservation of the breeding colonies in them.
In this sense, the information generated in this LIFE project will be key for the preparation of the Habitat Conservation Plan for the Species, which will determine the objectives for the conservation of the species and the activities required for realising these objectives. It will contain an analysis and evaluation of the situation of the species, conservation measures, and valuation of the viability and prioritisation of the measures contained in the document. It will bring together a programme of activities, a programme of follow-up and a budget for its execution. At the same time, it will bring together information about the biology, ecology, distribution and population of the lesser kestrel in Extremadura, the causes that negatively affect the species and the measures needed to increase its population, as well as its distribution. Finally, if necessary to ensure the conservation of the species, the Conservation Plan could also include proposals for new SPAs (Action A5).
The draft Habitat Conservation Plan will be presented to the Scientific Committee and to the international working group created within the framework of the LIFE project (Actions F1 and E11), as well as the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment, and to other autonomous communities such as Aragón or Castilla la Mancha that have already developed their regional plans for the species.
The project’s technical team will have meetings with representatives of the General Directorate of the Environment (DGMA), the General Directorate of Libraries, Museums and Cultural Heritage, the Directorate General of Urban and Territorial Planning, the University of Extremadura, regional and national NGOs, environmental consultancy businesses with experience of the application of conservation measures for lesser kestrel, as well as entities or people with accredited experience of work with the species. In the final document the input from all of these meetings will be collated.
Once the Plan has been written and agreed upon by the different stakeholders, the DGMA is committed that the Habitat Conservation Plan of the lesser kestrel in Extremadura will be legally approved before the end of the project.
The preparation of the Habitat Conservation Plan for the lesser kestrel represents the best guarantee for obtaining the proposed objectives in the long term. Taking advantage of the context of the LIFE project, in which an inter-institutional group will be working together, is key for guaranteeing progress in knowledge about the species and how it is perceived, thus improving the quality of the document. The working group that is created will help furthermore the integration and subsequent application of the management recommendations compiled in the Plan. The projects and other initiatives that will arise in the future will be the best way to enhance public’s awareness of the Habitat Conservation Plan for the lesser kestrel in Extremadura.
Responsible for implementation: General Directorate of the Environment