Continued declines of Redshank Tringa totanus breeding on saltmarsh in Great Britain: is there a solution to this conservation problem?

Malpas, Lucy R.; Smart, Jennifer; Drewitt, Allan; Sharps, Elwyn; Garbutt, Angus. 2013 Continued declines of Redshank Tringa totanus breeding on saltmarsh in Great Britain: is there a solution to this conservation problem? Bird Study, 60 (3). 370-383.

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Capsule: Over 50% of saltmarsh breeding Common Redshank have been lost since 1985, with current conservation management having only limited success at halting these declines. Aims: To update population size and trend estimates for saltmarsh-breeding Redshank in Britain, and to determine whether conservation management implemented since 1996 has been successful in influencing grazing intensity and Redshank population trends. Methods: A repeat national survey of British saltmarsh was conducted in 2011 at sites previously visited in 1985 and 1996. Redshank breeding density and grazing pressure were recorded at all sites; the presence of conservation management was additionally recorded for English sites. Results from all three national surveys were used to update population size and trend estimates, and to investigate changes in grazing pressure and breeding density on sites with and without conservation management. Results: Of the 21431 pairs breeding on saltmarsh in 1985, 11946 pairs remained in 2011, with the highest proportion of this population found in East Anglia. From 1985, British breeding densities declined at a rate of 1 pair km(-2) year(-1), representing a loss of 52.8% of breeding pairs over 26 years, although regional trends varied across different time periods. Grazing pressures did not change markedly with conservation management. Redshank declines were less severe on conservation-managed sites in East Anglia and the South of England where grazing pressures remained low, though were more severe on conservation-managed sites in the North West where heavy grazing persisted. Conclusion: Saltmarsh-breeding Redshank declines continue and are likely to be driven by a lack of suitable nesting habitat. Conservation management schemes and site protection implemented since 1996 appear not to be delivering the grazing pressures and associated habitat conditions required by this species, particularly in the North West of England, though habitat changes may not be linked to unsuitable grazing management in all regions. An in-depth understanding of grazing practices, how conservation management guidelines could be improved, and the likely success of more long-term management solutions is needed urgently.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISSN: 0006-3657
Additional Keywords: redshank, saltmarsh, conservation, decline
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 09 Jun 2015 11:51 +0 (UTC)

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