Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust WWT

Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust WWT

Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
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Pavon-Jordan D.,The Helsinki Laboratory of Ornithology | Pavon-Jordan D.,University of Helsinki | Fox A.D.,University of Aarhus | Clausen P.,University of Aarhus | And 20 more authors.
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2015

Aim: Species are responding to climate change by changing their distributions, creating debate about the effectiveness of existing networks of protected areas. As a contribution to this debate, we assess whether regional winter abundances and distribution of the Smew Mergellus albellus, a migratory waterbird species listed on Annex I (EU Birds Directive) that overwinters exclusively in European wetlands, changed during 1990-2011, the role of global warming in driving distributional changes and the effectiveness of the network of Special Protection Areas (SPAs, EU Birds Directive) in the context of climate change. Location: Europe. Methods: We used site-specific counts (6,883 sites) from 16 countries covering the entire flyway to estimate annual abundance indices and trends at country, region (north-eastern, central and south-western) and flyway scales, inside and outside SPAs. We fitted autoregressive models to assess the effect of winter temperature on the annual abundance indices whilst accounting for autocorrelation. Results: The Smew wintering distribution shifted north-eastwards in Europe in accordance with the predictions of global warming, with increasing numbers in the north-eastern region and declines in the central region. Trends in wintering numbers were more positive in SPAs on the north-eastern and south-western part of the flyway. However, a large proportion of the wintering population remains unprotected in north-eastern areas outside of the existing SPA network. Main conclusions: SPAs accommodated climate-driven abundance changes in the north-eastern region of the wintering distribution by supporting increasing numbers of Smew in traditional and newly colonized areas. However, we highlight gaps in the current network, suggesting that urgent policy responses are needed. Given rapid changes in species distributions, we urge regular national and international assessments of the adequacy of the EU Natura 2000 network to ensure coherence in site-safeguard networks for this and other species. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Mitchell C.,Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust WWT | Colhoun K.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds RSPB Northern Ireland Office | Fox A.D.,University of Aarhus | Griffin L.,WWT Caerloverock | And 4 more authors.
Ornis Svecica | Year: 2010

Twelve migratory and native goose populations winter in Britain and Ireland and up to date information on their abundance and distribution is provided. Seven populations are increasing: Barnacle Goose (Svalbard, current estimate 26,900 birds), Barnacle Goose (Greenland 70,500), Pink-footed Goose (288,800), North West Scotland Greylag Goose (34,500), Re-established Greylag Goose (50,000), Light-bellied Brent Goose (East Canadian High Arctic 34,000) and Light-bellied Brent Goose (Svalbard 3,270). Two populations appear stable: Taiga Bean Goose (432 at two sites) and Icelandic Greylag Goose (98,300). Three populations are decreasing: European White-fronted Goose (2,760) due to short stopping in mainland Europe, Dark-bellied Brent Goose (82,970), due to a recent population decline (due to poor breeding success) and short stopping, and Greenland Whitefronted Goose (24,055) due to recent poor breeding success and, up to 2006, hunting. An estimated 120,000 migratory geese wintered in Britain and Ireland in 1960 compared to 500,000 in 2008. Despite many goose species demonstrating high degrees of site faithfulness (responding to safe roosts and regular food supply), shifts in winter distribution of several goose populations have occurred (notably Icelandic Greylag Goose).

Kumar R.,Wetlands International South Asia | Horwitz P.,Edith Cowan University | Milton R.G.,Natural Resources Canada | Sellamuttu S.S.,International Water Management Institute IWMI | And 5 more authors.
Hydrological Sciences Journal | Year: 2011

The wise use of wetlands is expected to contribute to ecological integrity, as well as to secure livelihoods, especially of communities dependent on their ecosystem services for sustenance. This paper provides a conceptual framework capable of examining the goals of wetland management, poverty reduction and sustainable livelihoods. The framework highlights ecological character as a social construct and, with the notion of wetlands as settings for human well-being, builds a concept for assessing the inter-linkages between ecosystem services and livelihoods. The value and broader applicability of our framework is then tested by applying it to a case study from India (Lake Chilika) to evaluate the degree to which the mutual goals of improving both human well-being and the ecological character of wetlands have been achieved. The case study maps changes in human well-being induced in the basin communities due to external vulnerability contexts, institutions and freedoms. It further assesses the response strategies in terms of their impacts on ecological character and poverty status. © 2011 Copyright 2011 IAHS Press.

Lehikoinen A.,University of Helsinki | Jaatinen K.,Australian National University | Vahatalo A.V.,Novia University of Applied Sciences | Vahatalo A.V.,University of Jyväskylä | And 11 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2013

Climate change is predicted to cause changes in species distributions and several studies report margin range shifts in some species. However, the reported changes rarely concern a species' entire distribution and are not always linked to climate change. Here, we demonstrate strong north-eastwards shifts in the centres of gravity of the entire wintering range of three common waterbird species along the North-West Europe flyway during the past three decades. These shifts correlate with an increase of 3.8 °C in early winter temperature in the north-eastern part of the wintering areas, where bird abundance increased exponentially, corresponding with decreases in abundance at the south-western margin of the wintering ranges. This confirms the need to re-evaluate conservation site safeguard networks and associated biodiversity monitoring along the flyway, as new important wintering areas are established further north and east, and highlights the general urgency of conservation planning in a changing world. Range shifts in wintering waterbirds may also affect hunting pressure, which may alter bag sizes and lead to population-level consequences. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Monticelli D.,University of Liège | Ceia R.,Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves | Heleno R.,University of Bristol | Heleno R.,University of Coimbra | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Ornithology | Year: 2010

This paper reports analyses of a capture-mark-recapture (CMR) dataset of 149 Azores Bullfinches ringed on São Miguel island (Azores) between 2005 and 2007, and recaptured-resighted on a monthly basis over a 4-year period (2005-2008) throughout their breeding range. We examined the effect of time, age (adults vs. juveniles), gender (adult males and females), and environmental covariates (temperature, rainfall, NAO index) on survival probabilities. The modelling found a high and constant monthly survival probability (mean ± SE) estimated at 0.96 ± 0.01, similar between both adults and juveniles and independent of environmental conditions and gender. These findings agree with expectations from island-based life-history theory where relatively mild conditions and lack of predators should favour high survival rates to compensate for the low reproductive output. The annual survival rate was estimated at 0.62, which was also consistent with this pattern when compared with survival estimates of mainland bullfinch and passerine species on other subtropical islands obtained in similar CMR studies. Based on a canonical estimator, the size of the studied population (mean ± SE) was estimated at 1608 ± 326 individuals. Given that the population size was only around 120-400 individuals in the early 1990s, we suggest that the high survival probabilities currently applying to this critically endangered species may have substantially contributed to the recent recovery of this population. Future research studies on the species' demography should continue to monitor survival in order to measure the effect of management interventions currently taking place within the range of the Azores Bullfinch, including the restoration of the biodiversity rich laurel forest, but also focusing on nest success, which is important for understanding population dynamics. © 2010 Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V.

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