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Integrated waterbird management over the past few decades has implicitly referred to methods for managing wetlands that usually attempt to enhance habitat for taxonomic groups such as shorebirds and wading birds, in addition to waterfowl, the traditional focus group. Here I describe five elements of integration in management: taxonomic, spatial, temporal, population and habitat, and multiple-use management objectives. Spatial integration simply expands the scale of management concern. Rather than emphasizing management on a very limited number of impoundments or wetlands in small refuges or wildlife management areas, the vision is beginning to shift to connectivity within larger landscapes on the order of many square kilometers as telemetry data on daily and seasonal movements for many species become available. Temporal integration refers to the potential for either simultaneous management for waterbirds and commercial "crops" (e.g., crayfish and rice) or for temporally-staggered management such as row crop production in spring-summer growing seasons and waterbird management on fallow fields in the non-growing (winter) season. Integrating population dynamics with habitats has become a major research focus over the past decade. Identifying which wetlands are "sources" or "sinks" for specific populations provides managers with critical information about effective management. Further, the applications of spatially explicit population models place heavy demands on researchers to identify use patterns for breeding and dispersing individuals by age, sex, and reproductive class. Population viability analysis models require much the same information. Finally, multiple-use management integration refers to trying to optimize the uses of wetlands, when only one (perhaps secondary) use may include waterbird management. Depending upon the ownership and primary land use of a particular parcel of land containing wetlands and/or water bodies, managing for waterbirds may be an "easy sell" (e.g., public natural resource lands) or a very contentious one, where wetlands are created for industrial, aquaculture or urban uses. In the latter case, careful planning and implementation require broad stakeholder participation and education.
Additional Publication Details
Integrated management of waterbirds: Beyond the conventional