This action has two main objectives: to declare new SPAs, if necessary, and to define with better precision the boundaries of all the urban SPAs so that as well as including the buildings where they nest, they should also include the preferred feeding areas, that are also crucial for the species.
First, using as a reference the results provided from the census of lesser kestrel in Extremadura (Action A1) and the monitoring work in the project (Action D1), those zones that should be incorporated within the boundaries of the urban SPAs will be established, considering principally the number of pairs that will be supported by this increased size and the coherence of the new boundaries that result.
Second, the analysis of the boundaries of the SPAs will also take place with a revision of the zonation reflected in their respective Management Plans and will especially consider the results of Actions A1 and D1. In the cases of newly declared urban SPAs, as well as in the zones included in existing ones, the zonation will be based on application of the regulations set out in the Decree 110/2015 of 19th May, which regulates the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Extremadura.
The SPAs declared in urban centres in Extremadura were designed originally to include only the known breeding colonies. However, the populations that nest in urban areas depend on the existence of suitable feeding areas surrounding the town and villages, which was not taken into account in the design of the boundaries of the urban SPAs because insufficient information was available about the whereabouts, size and qualitative importance of the feeding areas used by the species during the breeding season.
Tracking individuals that are carrying satellite transmitters and GPS dataloggers (Action A2) will provide valuable information on use of habitat and, especially, on the location of preferred feeding zones during the breeding season. Based on the results obtained, it will be determined if it is necessary to declare specific feeding areas as an SPA, thus increasing the area of the urban SPAs associated with them, or other nearby SPAs, or indeed, creating new SPAs. Those SPAs whose lesser kestrel populations depend on small or threatened feeding areas or facing particular conservation challenges will be prioritised. Roosting or flocking areas will also be considered in this analysis.
This action is necessary given that the first step to guarantee the protection and conservation of the urban colonies of lesser kestrels and their feeding habitats is to provide the corresponding legal framework.
Therefore, as well as what will be done with the 19 urban SPAs already declared, new SPAs could be declared as well as the establishment of frameworks for the design and designation of urban SPAs, compiling the technical criteria for the establishment of the boundaries and zonation of urban SPAs for lesser kestrels, and the integration of feeding areas and other habitats of interest for the species. This will be of great significance as a means of transferring the results of the actions of the project, especially to other bodies with responsibility for the species. This awareness-raising which will be undertaken as part of the replicability strategy (Action E11).
The General Directorate of the Environment is committed to ensure that the changes in the places covered by the Natura 2000 network by this action will be legally approved before the end of the project.
Responsible for implementation: General Directorate of the Environment