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How will predicted land-use change affect waterfowl spring stopover ecology? Inferences from an individual-based model

November 1, 2016
  1. Habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, overexploitation and climate change pose familiar and new challenges to conserving natural populations throughout the world. One approach conservation planners may use to evaluate the effects of these challenges on wildlife populations is scenario planning.
  2. We developed an individual-based model to evaluate the effects of future land use and land cover changes on spring-migrating dabbling ducks in North America. We assessed the effects of three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission scenarios (A1B, A2 and B1) on dabbling duck stopover duration, movement distances and mortality. We specifically focused on migration stopover duration because previous research has demonstrated that individuals arriving earlier on the nesting grounds exhibit increased reproductive fitness.
  3. Compared to present conditions, all three scenarios increased stopover duration and movement distances of agent ducks.
  4. Although all three scenarios presented migrating ducks with increased amounts of wetland habitat, scenarios also contained substantially less cropland, which decreased overall carrying capacity of the study area.
  5. Synthesis and applications. Land-use change may increase waterfowl spring migration stopover duration in the midcontinent region of North America due to reduced landscape energetic carrying capacity. Climate change will alter spatial patterns of crop distributions with corn and rice production areas shifting to different regions. Thus, conservation planners will have to address population-level energetic implications of shifting agricultural food resources and increased uncertainty in yearly precipitation patterns within the next 50 years.
Publication Year 2017
Title How will predicted land-use change affect waterfowl spring stopover ecology? Inferences from an individual-based model
DOI 10.1111/1365-2664.12788
Authors William S. Beatty, Dylan C. Kesler, Elisabeth B. Webb, Luke W. Naylor, Andrew H. Raedeke, Dale D. Humburg, John M. Coluccy, Gregory J. Soulliere
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Applied Ecology
Index ID 70178045
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta