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

Jellesmark, Sean; Ausden, Malcolm; Blackburn, Tim M; Hoffmann, Mike; McRae, Louise; Visconti, Piero; Gregory, Richard 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). Green open access

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Abstract

Breeding populations of many wading birds have declined globally, primarily caused by habitat degradation and loss. In the UK, population declines have been particularly notable on lowland wet grasslands. In response, some areas of lowland wet grassland have been restored and are under 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 and 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, was 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.

Type: Article
Title: The effect of conservation interventions on the abundance of breeding waders within nature reserves in the United Kingdom
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ibi.13106
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/ibi.13106
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. Ibis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ornithologists' Union. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10153497
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