Predicting Future Range Expansions of Blakiston’s Fish Owl Subject to Conservation Efforts

  • Chiaki Yoshii
  • Yuichi Yamaura
  • Futoshi Nakamura
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


The population of the endangered raptor species, Blakiston’s fish owl Bubo blakistoni blakistoni, has been recovering recently due to conservation activities. The next conservation target is to expand their distribution, which is concentrated in eastern Hokkaido, Japan. In this study, we first built a static distribution model of the fish owl for the region in which it has stable populations. Using the habitat suitability map produced by the model, we projected the future range expansions of the owl using dynamic distribution modeling under scenarios with varied conservation activities and land-use changes. The static distribution model suggested that regions with substantial natural riparian forests and river length provided suitable owl habitats. It also indicated that maintenance and restoration of riparian forests would be important for owl conservation. Future projections of owl ranges indicated that an increase in breeding success would greatly contribute to range expansion. Additionally, the model results suggested that dispersal from the easternmost population (Konsen) was restricted due to the predominance of unsuitable surrounding areas and that existing populations are likely to expand their ranges into the currently unoccupied area in central Hokkaido (Yubari Mountains). However, there were large unexplained variations in the static distribution model and large uncertainties in the projections of future range expansions, suggesting that conservation activities should be planned flexibly and follow the actual range expansion processes of Blakiston’s fish owl.


Dispersal Scenario Species distribution model Range expansion Dynamic distribution model Land use 



We thank Masami Kaneko for providing the environmental data from Hokkaido . The individual data were originally obtained through activities to conserve Blakiston’s fish owls undertaken by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. We are very grateful to Robin Engler for customization, providing MigClim, and invaluable suggestions. The content of this chapter (including tables and figures) is based on Yoshii et al. (2017), and the reproduction was approved the Ecological Society of Japan. This work was supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan (No. D-1201).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiaki Yoshii
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuichi Yamaura
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Futoshi Nakamura
    • 5
  1. 1.Graduate School of AgricultureHokkaido University, KitakuSapporoJapan
  2. 2.Environmental Management and Energy Sector, CTI Engineering Co., LtdUrawaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Forest VegetationForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukuba, IbarakiJapan
  4. 4.Fenner School of Environment and SocietyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  5. 5.Graduate School of AgricultureHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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