Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 422353
Title Ecological strategies successfully predict the effects of river floodplain rehabilitation on breeding birds
Author(s) Turnhout, C.A.M. van; Leuven, R.S.E.W.; Hendriks, A.J.; Kurstjens, G.; Strien, A. van; Foppen, R.P.B.; Siepel, H.
Source River Research and Applications 28 (2012)3. - ISSN 1535-1459 - p. 269 - 282.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rra.1455
Department(s) Centre for Ecosystem Studies
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) theoretical habitat templets - life-history tactics - upper rhone river - species richness - lowland rivers - present state - rhine - europe - biodiversity - restoration
Abstract To improve the ecological functioning of riverine ecosystems, large-scale floodplain rehabilitation has been carried out in the Rhine–Meuse Delta since the 1990s. This paper evaluates changes in abundance of 93 breeding bird species over a period of 10 years in response to rehabilitation, by comparing population changes in 75 rehabilitated sites with 124 non-rehabilitated reference sites. Such quantitative, multi-species, large-scale and long-term evaluations of floodplain rehabilitation on biodiversity are still scarce, particularly studies that focus on the terrestrial component. We try to understand the effects by relating population trends to ecological and life-history traits and strategies of breeding birds. More specifically, we try to answer the question whether rehabilitation of vegetation succession or hydro-geomorphological river processes is the key driver behind recent population changes in rehabilitated sites. Populations of 35 species have significantly performed better in rehabilitated sites compared to non-rehabilitated floodplains, whereas only 8 have responded negatively to rehabilitation. Differences in effects between species are best explained by the trait selection of nest location. Reproductive investment and migratory behaviour were less strong predictors. Based on these three traits we defined eight life-history strategies that successfully captured a substantial amount of variation in rehabilitation effects. We conclude that spontaneous vegetation succession and initial excavations are currently more important drivers of population changes than rehabilitation of hydrodynamics. The latter are strongly constrained by river regulation. If rehabilitation of hydro-geomorphological processes remains incomplete in future, artificial cyclic floodplain rejuvenation will be necessary for sustainable conservation of characteristic river birds
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