The effect of conservation interventions on the abundance of breeding waders within nature reserves in the United Kingdom

Jellesmark, S., Ausden, M., Blackburn, T.M., Hoffmann, M., McRae, L., Visconti, P., & Gregory, R.D. (2022). The effect of conservation interventions on the abundance of breeding waders within nature reserves in the United Kingdom. Ibis 10.1111/ibi.13106. (In Press)

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Project: INternational training at the Science-Policy Interface for Researchers in Europe, for Nature (Inspire4Nature, H2020 766417)

Abstract

Breeding populations of many wading birds have declined globally, primarily caused by habitat degradation and loss. In the United Kingdom, population declines have been particularly notable on lowland wet grasslands. In response, some areas of lowland wet grassland have been restored and receive ongoing management to improve the breeding conditions of target species. Here, we assess the efficacy of management measures using a Bayesian framework and controlling for confounding factors. We focus on four wader species, Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) and Common Redshank (Tringa totanus), that breed in numbers on wet grassland reserve sites in the UK. We collated annual site-specific climate variables, management information (e.g. the creation of wet features and predator control measures) and bird counts between 1994-2018. We found the effects of conservation actions varied between intervention types and species. For lapwing and redshank, excluding predators by predator-exclusion fencing, especially in combination with fox control, were generally associated with higher breeding counts. For all study species, sites with longer histories of management were associated with higher breeding numbers, with the effect of site age being particularly notable for management on former arable land. Our findings support the effectiveness of targeted conservation actions to achieve high numbers of breeding waders on lowland wet grassland reserves, and also highlight the value of consistent and reliable monitoring data.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation (BEC)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2022 08:23
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2022 09:22
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/18139

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