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Recovery of tall cotton-grass following real and simulated feeding by snow geese

Ecography

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Abstract

Lesser snow geese Anser caerulescens caerulescens from the western Canadian Arctic feed on underground parts of tall cotton-grass Eriophorum angustifolium during autumn staging on the coastal plain of the Beaufort Sea in Canada and Alaska. We studied revegetation of sites where cotton-grass had been removed either by human-imprinted snow geese or by hand to simulate snow goose feeding. Aerial cover of cotton-grass at sites (n = 4) exploited by human-imprinted snow geese averaged 60 and 39% lower than in undisturbed control plots during the first and second year after feeding, respectively. Underground biomass of cotton-grass stembases and rhizomes in hand-treated plots was 80 and 62% less than in control plots 2 and 4 yr after removal, respectively (n = 10 yr-1). Aerial cover and biomass of common non-forage species such as Carex aquatilis did not increase on treated areas. Removal of cotton-grass by geese likely reduces forage availability at exploited sites for at least 2-4 yr after feeding but probably does not affect long-term community composition. Temporal heterogeneity in forage abundance likely contributes to the large spatial requirement of snow geese during staging.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Recovery of tall cotton-grass following real and simulated feeding by snow geese
Series title:
Ecography
Volume
23
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
367
Last page:
373
Number of Pages:
7