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Effect of water level fluctuations on wintering goose abundance in Poyang Lake wetlands of China

Research paper by Shaoxia Xia, Yu Liu; Bin Chen; Yifei Jia; Huan Zhang; Guanhua Liu; Xiubo Yu

Indexed on: 12 Nov '16Published on: 07 Nov '16Published in: Chinese Geographical Science



Abstract

Abstract The Poyang Lake is a Ramsar site and is the important over-wintering site for migratory waterbirds along the East Asian–Australasian Fly way. Examining the effects of water level fluctuations on waterbird abundance and analyzing the influencing mechanism is critical to waterbird protection in the context of hydrological alteration. In this study, the effect of water level regime on wintering goose abundance was examined and the influencing mechanism was interpreted. Synchronous waterbirds survey data, hydrological data, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer-Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (MODIS-NDVI) data and habitat data derived from Landsat TM/ETM data and HJ/CCD data were combined. The satellite-derived Green Wave Index (GWI) based on MODIS-NDVI dataset was applied to detect changes in goose food resources. It was found that habitat size and vegetation conditions are key factors determining goose abundance. Geese numbers were positively correlated with habitat area, while intermediate range of vegetation productivity might benefit the goose abundance. Water level affects goose abundance by changing available habitat areas and vegetation conditions. We suggested that matching hydrological regime and exposed meadows time to wintering geese dynamics was crucial in the Poyang Lake wetlands. Our study could provide sound scientific information for hydrological management in the context of waterbird conservation.AbstractThe Poyang Lake is a Ramsar site and is the important over-wintering site for migratory waterbirds along the East Asian–Australasian Fly way. Examining the effects of water level fluctuations on waterbird abundance and analyzing the influencing mechanism is critical to waterbird protection in the context of hydrological alteration. In this study, the effect of water level regime on wintering goose abundance was examined and the influencing mechanism was interpreted. Synchronous waterbirds survey data, hydrological data, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer-Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (MODIS-NDVI) data and habitat data derived from Landsat TM/ETM data and HJ/CCD data were combined. The satellite-derived Green Wave Index (GWI) based on MODIS-NDVI dataset was applied to detect changes in goose food resources. It was found that habitat size and vegetation conditions are key factors determining goose abundance. Geese numbers were positively correlated with habitat area, while intermediate range of vegetation productivity might benefit the goose abundance. Water level affects goose abundance by changing available habitat areas and vegetation conditions. We suggested that matching hydrological regime and exposed meadows time to wintering geese dynamics was crucial in the Poyang Lake wetlands. Our study could provide sound scientific information for hydrological management in the context of waterbird conservation.