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The value and vulnerability of small estuarine islands for conserving metapopulations of breeding waterbirds

Biological Conservation

doi:10.1016/0006-3207(94)00045-R
By:
, , and

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Abstract

Compelling arguments for preserving large habitat 'islands' have been made for a number of animal groups, but most commonly for terrestrial birds. We argue that, for many species of waterbirds nesting in coastal estuaries, maintaining numerous small islands may be a more effective management strategy than maintaining larger islands or reserves. In this study, the number of great white heron Ardea herodias nests over a 5-year period (1986-91) was negatively correlated with island area in the Florida Keys, USA. Nest densities were highest in the 210 ha island size range and lowest for islands larger than 100 ha. These small islands also attract nesting black skimmers Rynchops niger, brown pelicans Pelecanus occidentalis, and several species of terns and gulls. Small estuarine islands are vulnerable to sea level rise, erosion from watercraft, and, for dredge material islands, lack of sufficient maintenance because of competing needs for beach nourishment. Managers need to enforce more buffering and protection of these islands and argue for more dredged material allocations in some areas.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The value and vulnerability of small estuarine islands for conserving metapopulations of breeding waterbirds
Series title:
Biological Conservation
Volume
71
Issue:
2
Year Published:
1995
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
187-191
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Biological Conservation
First page:
187
Last page:
191
Number of Pages:
5