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The decline of North American waterfowl resources since the 1960s is well-known to this audience and need not be detailed to establish that population numbers for several key waterfowl species are at or near their lowest levels since records have been kept. Loss of habitat is an accepted major cause for the decline of waterfowl numbers and the wildlife conservation community is responding with initiatives to prevent further loss of existing wetland acreage, restoration for degraded wetlands and creation of new wetlands. Numerous joint ventures focusing on key waterfowl habitat requirements are being developed under the North American Waterfowl Plan. The importance of habitat loss also is reflected in many of the presentations at this conference on wetland conservation, including one special session devoted solely to that topic.
A basic premise of the focus on wetlands is that restoration of waterfowl populations is habitat dependent. This is a tenable thesis if other factors suppressing waterfowl numbers are dealt with and the habitat base being enhanced sustains waterfowl rather than contributes to their death. My presentation addresses disease as a factor suppressing waterfowl numbers and the relation of habitat quantity and quality with waterfowl disease.
Additional Publication Details
Environmental influences on major waterfowl diseases
Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference