Freshwater Crayfish 19(2): 161-175 (2013)
PEER REVIEWED RESEARCH ARTICLE
Linking Species Conservation Management and Legal Species Protection: A Case Study on Stone Crayfish
Like other European native crayfish species, the stone crayfish, Austropotamobius torrentium, has disappeared from many freshwater systems for various, mostly anthropogenic reasons during the last 150 years. In the Austrian Federal State Vorarlberg, this species is protected through the EU Habitats Directive and national legislation and must be maintained at, or restored to, the so called “favourable conservation status”. According to the legal requirements, and based on relevant field study results, we assessed the conservation status of A. torrentium on this regional scale for the first time. We show that the populations suffered significantly from insufficient habitat size and availability, as well as pollution risks due to land-use and degraded or lacking riparian vegetation. The observed isolation of all existing populations will have an impact over the long term. Based on these findings, we state the urgent need for conservation measures, not only because of nature conservation considerations, but also from a legal point of view. Therefore, we define the crucial aspects needed for a future management plan. In this context, we propose reintroductions of native crayfish to be a valuable management tool, but also show the difficulty linked to this measure due to a scarcity of target habitats in this densely populated region of the Alps. Thus, conservation efforts in the field should be linked with the establishment of protected areas, thereby setting local priorities for the benefit of the threatened stone crayfish.
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How to Cite
Berger C and Füreder L. (2013). Linking Species Conservation Management and Legal Species Protection: A Case Study on Stone Crayfish. Freshwater Crayfish 19(2):161-175. doi: 10.5869/fc.2013.v19-2.161.
Berger C and Füreder L