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Effects of ecological and anthropogenic factors on waterbird abundance at a Ramsar Site in the Yangtze River Floodplain

Zhang, Yong, Fox, Anthony D., Cao, Lei, Jia, Qiang, Lu, Changhu, Prins, Herbert H. T., de Boer, Willem F.
Ambio 2019 v.48 no.3 pp. 293-303
adverse effects, anthropogenic activities, buffaloes, conservation areas, conservation status, cost effectiveness, ecosystems, floodplains, grazing, habitats, human population, human settlements, lakes, population density, population size, screening, surveys, water birds, wetlands, China, Yangtze River
Continuing declines in abundance of many waterbird species on wetland ecosystems require explanations to support effective management interventions. We used 6 year survey data from Shengjin Lake National Nature Reserve in the Yangtze River Floodplain, China, to study the effects of ecological and anthropogenic variables as determinants of waterbird species abundance. Our results showed that effects were guild-dependent, although distance to nearest human settlements had the largest adverse effects on bird abundance across all guilds. These results suggested that although the abundance of waterbird species could be affected by habitat conditions and buffalo grazing activities, Yangtze River Wetlands would most likely benefit most from reduced pressure from the proximity to the surrounding human population. We suggest that screening and/or restricting public access at some key sites may be the most cost-efficient way to restrict or reduce human activity in these wetlands, to improve the conservation status and wintering conditions for these waterbirds.