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Lieske D.J.,Mount Allison University | Pollard B.,Environment Canada | Gloutney M.,Ducks Unlimited Canada | Milton R.,Natural Resources Canada | And 4 more authors.
Waterbirds | Year: 2012

Given historical patterns of decline, the American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) has long been a species of concern. To support the identification of core Maritime habitat, the distribution of breeding ducks was mapped at the landscape scale through the combination of GIS-based land cover information and five years of intensive aerial surveys (2006-2010). A predictive, mixed effects model was used to generate the maps, based on the weighted average of coefficients for the top 95% of all-possible models (as measured by AIC weights). The results of the averaged mixed model indicated that annual variation (YEAR), availability of surface water (WET-aREA, LAKE-aREA and WET-DIVERSITY) and occurrence of active agricultural landscapes (AG-PROP and ROAD-DENSITY) were strongly associated with the number of breeding pairs. The presence of larger numbers of breeding ducks in agricultural landscapes represents a departure from studies conducted in more intensively utilized regions (e.g. southern Ontario and Quebec), and suggest that the benefits of breeding in Maritime agricultural areas outweigh potential costs. Using 34,659 prediction points, duck distribution was modeled in relatively high and low years (2008 and 2006, respectively), resulting in detailed maps suitable for the identification of priority areas for habitat restoration and enhancement. In order to help refine conservation management plans, future work should more closely examine the impact of different types and combinations of Maritime agricultural production to better understand the way these landscapes attract breeding ducks. Source

Austin J.,U.S. Geological Survey | Slattery S.,Institute for Waterfowl and Wetland Research | Clark R.G.,Environment Canada
Wildfowl | Year: 2014

There are 30 threatened or endangered species of waterfowl worldwide, and several sub-populations are also threatened. Some of these species occur in North America, and others there are also of conservation concern due to declining population trends and their importance to hunters. Here we review conservation initiatives being undertaken for several of these latter species, along with conservation measures in place in Europe, to seek common themes and approaches that could be useful in developing broad conservation guidelines. While focal species may vary in their lifehistories, population threats and geopolitical context, most conservation efforts have used a systematic approach to understand factors limiting populations and to identify possible management or policy actions. This approach generally includes a priori identification of plausible hypotheses about population declines or status, incorporation of hypotheses into conceptual or quantitative planning models, and the use of some form of structured decision making and adaptive management to develop and implement conservation actions in the face of many uncertainties. A climate of collaboration among jurisdictions sharing these birds is important to the success of a conservation or management programme. The structured conservation approach exemplified herein provides an opportunity to involve stakeholders at all planning stages, allows for all views to be examined and incorporated into model structures, and yields a format for improved communication, cooperation and learning, which may ultimately be one of the greatest benefits of this strategy. © Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. Source

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