Subalpine and alpine ecosystems are both threatened by climate change and land-use changes, such as the abandonment of pastures. The Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve, with an important heritage of biological interest, is suffering these effects.
In addition, transects will be used to assess the availability of insects, plant diversity, and grazing pressure in the habitat. In this way we will obtain a comprehensive view of the state of conservation of this vulnerable ecosystem, deepen our understanding of the ecological requirements and the health of the birds in the culminating areas of the Montseny, and serve as a decision tool in future actions aimed at the protection of this habitat.
The Northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) is a subalpine bird associated with this habitat, and its population in the Montseny has been declining in recent years. Thanks to funding from the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Barcelona Zoo Foundation, we are investigating the use of this species as an indicator of these changes, with the assessment of population status and health parameters, including the microbiome. We will determine the nesting population and reproductive success through censuses, , and we will obtain faecal samples through ringing captures to determine their diet in addition to their health status.