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|Título:||Can human-made saltpans represent an alternative habitat for shorebirds? Implications for a predictable loss of estuarine sediment flats|
|Autor:||Dias, Maria P.|
Rabaça, João E.
|Citação:||Environmental Management, 53, 163-171|
|Resumo:||Estuarine areas worldwide are under intense pressure due to human activities such as upstream dam building. Shorebirds strongly depend on estuarine intertidal flats during migration and wintering periods and so are particularly vulnerable to such impacts, whose magnitude will depend on the availability of alternative feeding habitats. In this study we analyze if man-made saltpans can represent an alternative habitat for wintering and migrating shorebirds in the Guadiana estuary, a wetland that is already experiencing environmental changes due to the building of the Alqueva reservoir, the largest in Western Europe. We compared the use of mudflats and saltpans as feeding areas by several shorebird species before the construction of the dam. A dataset with 26 years of counts data was also analyzed in order to detect any long-term trend in shorebirds abundance. We concluded that saltpans, in particular the fully mechanized, can be used as an alternative habitat by larger species during winter and southward migration, thus playing a major role in minimizing the possible effects of sediment loss due to dam building. In contrast, smaller species were particularly dependent on mudflats to feed. A significant change in population trends, from positive to negative, was detected for two species. Although we still have no evidence that this is directly linked to dam building, this result and documented changes that limit primary productivity justifies the implementation of a long-term monitoring scheme of shorebird populations in this estuary. We also reinforce the need to manage the saltpans as key habitats for shorebirds.|
|Aparece nas colecções:||UIE-E - Artigos em revistas internacionais|
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