Pheasants, buzzards, and trophic cascades

Lees, Alexander C.; Newton, Ian; Balmford, Andrew. 2013 Pheasants, buzzards, and trophic cascades. Conservation Letters, 6 (2). 141-144.

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The partial recovery of large birds of prey in lowland Britain has reignited conflicts with game managers and prompted a controversial U.K. government proposal to investigate ways of limiting losses to pheasant shooting operations. Yet best estimates are that buzzards are only a minor source of pheasant mortality–road traffic, for example, is far more important. Moreover, because there are often large numbers of nonbreeding buzzards, local control of breeding pairs may simply lead to their replacement by immigrant buzzards. Most significantly, consideration of the complexity of trophic interactions suggests that even if successful, lowering buzzard numbers may directly or indirectly increase the abundance of other medium-sized predators (such as foxes and corvids) which potentially have much greater impacts on pheasant numbers. To be effective, interventions need to be underpinned by far more rigorous understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems dominated by artificially reared, superabundant nonnative game species.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 1755-263X
Additional Keywords: Birds of prey; cascade effects; game hunting; intraguild predation; mesopredators.
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 24 Mar 2014 10:18 +0 (UTC)

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