Usability of large carnivore as a keystone species in Eastern Black Sea Region, Turkey
Large carnivores are regarded as the most potential focal species in distributed areas. It is implied that keystone species are the most important species in that ecosystems to sustainability. Despite prey species has much more keystone property, in many areas, examples of the keystone species can be selected from carnivore species. The aim of the study was to investigate the keystone species property of Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Wolf (Canis lupus) and Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx). The main selecting criteria for keystone species can be summarized as top predator or large carnivore important prey species or provide key resources and species having strong interactions with other species. It was observed that Brown bear, Wolf and Eurasian Lynx had keystone property in the region. These species had very crucial role to regulate the population density of other species such as Wild goat (Capra aegagrus), Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and Wild boar (Sus scrofa). Despite having some problem with local people, Brown bear, Wolf and Eurasian Lynx can be also used as a flagship, indicator and umbrella species in Northeastern Turkey.
Keywords: Biodiversity, Keystone species, brown bear, Wolf and Eurasian lynx