Twenty-five years after the implementation of the Birds Directive in 1979, Europe's farmland bird species and long-distance migrants continue to decrease at an alarming rate. Farmland supports more bird species of conservation concern than any other habitat in Europe. Hence, it is imperative to understand farmland species' relationship with their habitats.

The efficacy of integrating open access geospatial data to produce habitat suitability maps for the corn bunting (Miliaria calandra) was investigated. Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and Corine (Coordination of Information on the Environment) land cover data for the year 2000 (CLC2000) were processed to extract explanatory variables and divided into three sets; Satellite (ETM+, SRTM), CLC2000 and Combined (CLC2000 + Satellite). Presence-absence data for M. calandra, collected during structured surveys for the Catalan Breeding Bird Atlas, were provided by the Catalan Ornithological Institute. The dataset was partitioned into an equal number of presence and absence points by dividing it into five groups, each composed of 88 randomly selected presence points to match the number of absences. A logistic regression model was then built for each group. Models were evaluated using area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic (ROC). Results of the five groups were averaged to produce mean Satellite, CLC2000 and Combined models. The mean AUC values were 0.69, 0.81 and 0.90 for the CLC2000, Satellite and the Combined model, respectively. The probability of M. calandra presence had the strongest positive correlation with land surface temperature, modified soil adjusted vegetation index, coefficient of variation for ETM+ band 5 and the fraction of non-irrigated arable land.

Funding: This project was supported by the European Commission, Erasmus Mundus Program, Framework Partnership Agreement 2007-0064/001 FRAME MUNB123.

Duration: 09/2009 - 03/2010

Project Output: Published in the ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information