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28-07-2021 | Issue 4/2021

Environmental Management 4/2021

More Than Just a Trend: Integrating Population Viability Models to Improve Conservation Management of Colonial Waterbirds

Journal:
Environmental Management > Issue 4/2021
Authors:
K. J. Brandis, G. Bino, R. T. Kingsford
Important notes

Supplementary information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00267-021-01507-5.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Waterbird populations in eastern Australia have been declining over the past 35 years primarily due to water resource development and resultant changes to natural river flows and flooding. To mitigate these impacts there is an increased allocation of water for the environment, including waterbird populations. We used population viability models to identify the frequency of breeding events required to reverse the trend and achieve long-term species’ management objectives. We found that the population size of straw-necked ibis was primarily dictated by the frequency of large breeding events and to a lesser extent by adult annual survival and the frequency of small breeding events. We identified combinations of small and large breeding events over the next 10 years required for increased population growth. We also assessed the likelihood of current water management policies increasing populations and thereby reversing the decline in eastern Australia’s waterbird populations.

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