1) Biology & ecology
- Xu, Y., M. Kieboom, R. J. A. van Lammeren, Y. Si and W. F. de Boer (2021). “Indicators of site loss from a migration network: Anthropogenic factors influence waterfowl movement patterns at stopover sites.” Global Ecology and Conservation 25: e01435.
- Zhai, H., Z. Li, S. Mi, D. Meng, H. Yu, L. Teng and Z. Liu (2021). “The complete mitochondrial genome of the Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) from Ningxia, China.” Mitochondrial DNA Part B 6(2): 546-547.
- Teng, J., S. Xia, Y. Liu, X. Yu, H. Duan, H. Xiao and C. Zhao (2021). “Assessing habitat suitability for wintering geese by using Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) in a large floodplain wetland, China.” Ecological Indicators 122: 107260.
- Wang, C., G. Wang, L. Dai, H. Liu, Y. Li, C. Qiu, Y. Zhou, H. Chen, B. Dong, Y. Zhao and Y. Zhang (2021). “Study on the effect of habitat function change on waterbird diversity and guilds in Yancheng coastal wetlands based on structure–function coupling.” Ecological Indicators 122: 107223.
- Fan, J., X. Wang, W. Wu, W. Chen, Q. Ma and Z. Ma (2021). “Function of restored wetlands for waterbird conservation in the Yellow Sea coast.” Science of The Total Environment 756: 144061.
- Li, Y., Y. Zhong, R. Shao, C. Yan, J. Jin, J. Shan, F. Li, W. Ji, L. Bin, X. Zhang, K. Cao and J. Shen (2020). “Modified hydrological regime from the Three Gorges Dam increases the risk of food shortages for wintering waterbirds in Poyang Lake.” Global Ecology and Conservation 24: e01286.
- Xi, Y., S. Peng, P. Ciais and Y. Chen (2021). “Future impacts of climate change on inland Ramsar wetlands.” Nature Climate Change 11(1): 45-51.
- Amano, T., T. Székely, H. S. Wauchope, B. Sandel, S. Nagy, T. Mundkur, T. Langendoen, D. Blanco, N. L. Michel and W. J. Sutherland (2020). “Responses of global waterbird populations to climate change vary with latitude.” Nature Climate Change 10(10): 959-964.
- Gao, B., P. Gong, W. Zhang, J. Yang and Y. Si (2021). “Multiscale effects of habitat and surrounding matrices on waterbird diversity in the Yangtze River Floodplain.” Landscape Ecology 36(1): 179-190.
2) Conservation & management
- Jin, H. S., K. Hemminger, J. J. Fong, C. Sattler, S. Lee, C. Bieling and H. J. König (2021). “Revealing stakeholders’ motivation and influence in crane conservation in the Republic of Korea: Net-Map as a tool.” Conservation Science and Practice 3(3): e384.
- Qiu, L., M. Zhang, B. Zhou, Y. Cui, Z. Yu, T. Liu and S. Wu (2021). “Economic and ecological trade-offs of coastal reclamation in the Hangzhou Bay, China.” Ecological Indicators 125: 107477.
- Mu, T., P. S. Tomkovich, E. Y. Loktionov, E. E. Syroechkovskiy and D. S. Wilcove (2020). “Tracking the migration of red-necked stint Calidris ruficollis reveals marathon flights and unexpected conservation challenges.” Journal of Avian Biology 51(11).
- Bai, M.-L., W.-C. Chih, P.-F. Lee and Y.-Y. Lien (2021). “Response of waterbird abundance and flight behavior to a coastal wind farm on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 193(4): 181.
- Xia, S., X. Yu, J. Lei, R. Hearn, B. Smith, G. Lei and P. Xie (2020). “Priority sites and conservation gaps of wintering waterbirds in the Yangtze River floodplain.” Journal of Geographical Sciences 30(10): 1617-1632.
- Kim, J. H., S. Park, S. H. Kim and E. J. Lee (2021). “Identifying high-priority conservation areas for endangered waterbirds using a flagship species in the Korean DMZ.” Ecological Engineering 159: 106080.
3) Avian Influenza /Others
- Moriguchi, S., R. Hosoda, N. Ushine, T. Kato and S.-i. Hayama (2021). “Surveillance system for avian influenza in wild birds and implications of its improvement with insights into the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks in Japan.” Preventive Veterinary Medicine 187: 105234.
1) Biology & ecology
Yanjie Xu, Mattias Kieboom, Ron J.A.van Lammeren, Yali Si, Willem F.de Boer
Abstract: A network of connected wetlands supports migratory movements of waterfowl. These networks are rapidly changing due to intensive human activities around natural habitats. Quantifying how anthropogenic factors change waterfowl movements via a reduction of habitat availability and quality can facilitate a better understanding of the dynamics of these migration networks, and provide early-warning signals for network collapse. Using satellite tracking data for greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, we tested how environmental factors (i.e., anthropogenic and ecological factors) influence geese movement patterns at stopover sites. We found that these factors, e.g., percentage of farmlands in the landscape, and proximity index of wetland patches, accurately predicted percentage of flying time and the median movement distance of tracked geese at stopover sites. Farmlands may increase energy consumptions in stopover sites because the geese flew more frequently, made longer movements, and switched their behaviour more frequently in landscapes with a higher proportion of farmlands. Goose movements were constrained in natural habitats, as a higher proportion of water and wetlands increased their movements, and thereby increased flying time and median movement distances. We suggest that using environmental factors monitored by remote sensing techniques to predict bird movement patterns is a powerful quantitative tool to measure quality of stopover sites. The changes in environmental factors in these stopover sites can be used as an indicator for the probability of losing a site from a migration network, and thereby generates insights for setting priorities in conservation planning of migratory birds.
Zhai H, Li Z, Mi S, Meng D, Yu H, Teng L, Liu Z
Abstract: The Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) is a diving duck that is widely distributed in Asia, Africa, and Europe. We determined the complete mitogenome of the Ferruginous Duck gathered at Ningxia, China. The total length of the complete mitochondrial genome is 16,623 bp and it consists of 13 protein-coding, 22 tRNA, 2 rRNA genes, and 1 control region (CR). Only one overlap among the 13 protein-coding genes was found: ND4L/ND4. The CR is 1068 bp in length. The nucleotide composition is 29.66% A, 22.28% T, 15.35% G, 32.71% C. The result of phylogenetic analysis showed that there is close genetic relationship among Aythya nyroca and three ducks in the Genus Aythya.
Jiakun Teng, Shaoxia Xia, Yu Liu, Xiubo Yu, Houlang Duan, Han Xiao, Chuanpeng Zhao
Abstract: Hydrological condition is one of the most important factors affecting the abundance and distribution of waterbirds in large freshwater floodplains, as it influences their habitat and food availability. The hydrological condition is commonly indicated with site-based hydrological data such as water level. Site-based data have high temporal resolution but are less effective to represent the spatial characteristics, a requirement for ecological/habitat models. In this study, we propose a method to identify suitable habitats for wintering geese based on the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) derived from Sentinel-2 satellite images. The relationships between NDWI, water level and geese occurrence were analyzed. The results showed that the NDWI of Poyang Lake can explain 75% of the changes in water level and at least 42% of the geese occurrence during wintering periods (with the exception of February 2019). The monthly NDWI optimal ranges suitable for wintering geese were identified to be from −0.12 to 0 and suitable NDWI threshold range is from −0.27 to 0.14. Based on this threshold range, we identified the suitable habitat for geese and found that the suitable habitat area first increased and later decreased during the whole wintering periods, following an inverted U-shaped dynamic. We concluded that NDWI can be used to improve distribution models of waterbird species to support their protection and wetland management.
Cheng Wang, Gang Wang, Lingjun Dai, Hongyu Liu, Yufeng Li, Chunqi Qiu, Yi Zhou, Hao Chen, Bin Dong, Yongqiang Zhao, Yanan Zhang
Abstract: In recent years, due to human activities and global climate change, the number and area of waterbird habitats in Yancheng coastal wetlands, a newly established world natural heritage site, have been shrinking, the function of the waterbird habitats has been degraded to varying degrees, and the safety of waterbird populations and habitats has been threatened. Therefore, in this study, waterbird habitat functions at the regional scale were assessed by using spatial principal component analysis (SPCA). According to the load matrix of principal components and the Redundancy analysis (RDA) method, the driving force of habitat function change and the mechanisms of their effects on waterbird guilds and diversity were revealed. The results showed that the areas of the highest and high habitat function grades continued to decline from 1987 to 2019, and the areas of the lowest and low grades of habitat function continued to increase. The overall habitat functions in the waterbird distribution areas were high, but the functional grades within different habitat sites were obviously decreasing. The main driving factors affecting habitat function change in Yancheng coastal wetlands from 1987 to 2019 were habitat types, habitat area, habitat diversity, habitat fragmentation, number of residential areas and reclamation intensity. The effects of these driving factors on the population diversity and distribution of waterbird guilds were different. Finally, countermeasures and suggestions for the functional maintenance and key node restoration of waterbird habitats in Yancheng coastal wetlands were proposed.
Jun Fan, Xiaodan Wang, Wei Wu, Weipin Chen, Qiang Ma, Zhijun Ma
Abstract: To reduce the harm to wildlife caused by habitat loss and degradation, significant resources have been invested in habitat restoration worldwide. However, whether restored habitats can support wildlife communities similar to those natural ones remains unclear. Providing habitat for waterbirds, which are dependent on wetland for their survival, is a major target in many wetland restoration practices. Here we conducted a year-round waterbird survey at Chongming Dongtan, a national nature reserve established for waterbird conservation in the south Yellow Sea, in order to compare the characteristics of waterbird communities in four wetland types: restored wetlands, natural tidal wetlands, and two artificial wetlands (fish ponds and farmlands). We determined whether waterbird diversity and species composition differed among the wetland types. The results indicated that waterbird diversity, in terms of species richness, individual density, Shannon-Wiener diversity, functional diversity, and phylogenetic diversity, was generally similar in the restored and natural wetlands and was higher in the restored and natural wetlands than in fish ponds or farmlands. Most threatened species and exclusive species occurred in both natural and restored wetlands, but the overall species composition significantly differed between natural and restored wetlands. Non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis also indicated that waterbird community significantly differed among the wetland types. The results suggest that restored wetlands support substantial waterbird diversity but cannot replace natural wetlands because they lack the period tides that many tideland specialists (shorebirds) depend on. This study highlights the importance of protecting natural wetlands for waterbird conservation. We propose that both the diversity and species composition of wildlife communities should be considered in evaluating the effectiveness of habitat restoration for wildlife.
Yankuo Li, Yifeng Zhong, Ruiqing Shao, Chuan Yan, Jiefeng Jin, Jihong Shan, Fengshan Li, Weitao Ji, Li Bin, Xinyue Zhang, Kaiqiang Cao, Jin Shen
Abstract: Poyang Lake is an internationally important wintering ground for waterbirds. Since the Three Gorges Dam (TGD) began operations, the lake’s hydrological regime has been changed, which may influence the growth of submerged plants and increase the risk of food shortages for wintering waterbirds. We explored the effect of hydrological regime change in Poyang Lake on food abundance for herbivorous waterbirds using a 19-year (1999–2017) monitoring dataset of densities of Vallisneria and their tubers. Overall, food abundance decreased significantly and fluctuated considerably after the TGD started full operations in 2009. The change was significantly correlated with the autumn drought and summer flood. Densities of plants and their tubers in early winter significantly increased with higher water levels in the previous October, and significantly decreased with higher June water levels. Autumn drought magnified the negative effect of average June water levels, and the combined effect explained 86.9% of the deviance in Vallisneria density. The optimal generalized additive model (GAM) for tuber abundance (explaining 86.2% of the deviance) contained the average June water levels, tuber density two years before and the average water level of the previous October. Average water levels in June and the previous October were important predictors of food abundance. However, TGD operations have made droughts in October a norm since 2006 and resulted in more frequent June floods. It is concluded that the risk of food shortages probably has become a new norm in Poyang Lake. The results offer new information for waterbird conservation and hydrological regime management for Poyang Lake, as well as for the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River as a whole.
Yi Xi, Shushi Peng, Philippe Ciais & Youhua Chen
Abstract: The 1971 Ramsar Convention promotes wetland conservation worldwide, yet climate change impacts on wetland extent and associated biodiversity are unclear. Hydrological modelling and soil moisture estimates are used to quantify climate change-driven shifts in wetland area across 1,250 inland Ramsar sites. We estimate that net global wetland area expanded during 1980–2014, but 47% of sites experienced wetland loss. By 2100, a net area loss of at least 6,000 km2 (about 1%) is projected. The number of sites with area loss over 10% will increase by 19–65% under low emissions, 148–243% under high emissions and ~16% with global mean warming of 2 °C relative to 1.5 °C. Sites most vulnerable to shrinkage are located in the Mediterranean, Mexico, Central America and South Africa—all seasonal waterbird migration hotspots. Our findings highlight that climate mitigation is essential for future Ramsar wetlands conservation, in addition to the minimization of human disturbance.
Boyu Gao, Peng Gong, Wenyuan Zhang, Jun Yang & Yali Si
Abstract: With the expansion in urbanization, understanding how biodiversity responds to the altered landscape becomes a major concern. Most studies focus on habitat effects on biodiversity, yet much less attention has been paid to surrounding landscape matrices and their joint effects. We investigated how habitat and landscape matrices affect waterbird diversity across scales in the Yangtze River Floodplain, a typical area with high biodiversity and severe human-wildlife conflict. The compositional and structural features of the landscape were calculated at fine and coarse scales. The ordinary least squares regression model was adopted, following a test showing no significant spatial autocorrelation in the spatial lag and spatial error models, to estimate the relationship between landscape metrics and waterbird diversity. Well-connected grassland and shrub surrounded by isolated and regular-shaped developed area maintained higher waterbird diversity at fine scales. Regular-shaped developed area and cropland, irregular-shaped forest, and aggregated distribution of wetland and shrub positively affected waterbird diversity at coarse scales. Habitat and landscape matrices jointly affected waterbird diversity. Regular-shaped developed area facilitated higher waterbird diversity and showed the most pronounced effect at coarse scales. The conservation efforts should not only focus on habitat quality and capacity, but also habitat connectivity and complexity when formulating development plans. We suggest planners minimize the expansion of the developed area into critical habitats and leave buffers to maintain habitat connectivity and shape complexity to reduce the disturbance to birds. Our findings provide important insights and practical measures to protect biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes.
2) Conservation & management
Hyeyeon Sarah Jin, Karoline Hemminger, Jonathan J. Fong, Claudia Sattler, Sue Kyoung Lee, Claudia Bieling, Hannes J. König
Abstract：Biodiversity conservation in protected areas requires strict legal limitations to land use. In the Civilian Control Zone (CCZ) of the Republic of Korea (ROK), military control has created an accidental sanctuary for the world’s rarest crane species: the white‐naped crane (Antigone vipio) and the red‐crowned crane (Grus japonensis). Yet varying land use demands on the CCZ by stakeholders have caused disagreements in achieving cooperative crane conservation. This paper aims to clarify relevant stakeholders’ interconnection and their motives that have led them to either promote or inhibit crane conservation in the Cheorwon Basin of the CCZ. To answer these questions, we conducted participatory Net‐Map interviews and identified stakeholders with a powerful role in crane conservation. Our results identify 44 stakeholders whose trust relations occurred twice as often as conflicts. More than 80% of stakeholders included in this study supported crane conservation initiatives. We attribute local farmers’ increased level of environmental stewardship to two key schemes: a community‐led farming project generating financial incentives and a communication channel for stakeholders. Our case study demonstrates that Net‐Map is a valid tool to analyze human‐crane interactions, which is critical to ensure acceptance of legal restrictions to land use as well as crane conservation.
Lefeng Qiu, Min Zhang, Bibing Zhou, Yuanzheng Cui, Zhoulu Yu, Tao Liu, Shaohua Wu
Abstract：Due to the growing demand for land resources, coastal reclamation has become a global land use practice. Although the reclamation of coastal wetlands brings substantial economic benefits, it can lead to a series of adverse ecological impacts. Considerably, economic and ecological trade-offs of reclamation activities must be analyzed to make targeted land use policy decisions. This study focuses on land reclamation on the east coast of China, taking Hangzhou Bay as a case study. Remote sensing techniques were used to detect the coastline and landscape changes in the reclaimed areas from 1985 to 2015. Subsequently, field surveys and empirical parameters were employed to evaluate the impact on coastal ecosystem services. Finally, the monetary analysis was used to evaluate the trade-offs between ecological loss and economic gain due to land reclamation. The results showed that a total of 75134.3 ha of coastal wetlands (accounting for 8.58% of the total land area) were reclaimed from 1985 to 2015 in the Hangzhou Bay. A substantial decline in ecosystem service value (ESV) was observed with a drop from 866,400 Yuan ha−1 in 1985 to 285,800 Yuan ha−1 in 2015 due to the conversion of natural to artificial landscape. The total ESV loss exceeded the economic benefits throughout the study period, thus the economic benefits failed to compensate for the ESV loss. This trade-off relationship resulted from reclamation expansion on short-term economic benefits at the expense of long-term ecological value. According to these findings, we propose three main ways to achieve a “win–win” situation between gains and loss of reclamation for sustainability.
Tong Mu, Pavel S. Tomkovich, Egor Y. Loktionov, Evgeny E. Syroechkovskiy, David S. Wilcove
Abstract：Effective conservation of migratory species depends on understanding both migratory connectivity and migration strategy. The red‐necked stint Calidris ruficollis is a small, highly migratory sandpiper of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, which is classified as ‘Near Threatened’ due to ongoing population declines. We tracked the migration of three red‐necked stints breeding in southern Chukotka, Russia, using geolocators, and supplemented our tracking data with re‐sighting records of color‐flagged individuals. The three birds, all of which bred within 2 km of each other, wintered in three different localities spanning nearly 5000 km. One individual completed its northward migration of >9400 km in two marathon flights; the second leg of that journey was completed in a nonstop flight of 5350 km. The successful conservation of just this one population requires protection of wintering sites across a vast area, coupled with key staging sites along the flyway. We suggest that other migratory species may pose similar conservation challenges.
Mei-Ling Bai, Wen-Chieh Chih, Pei-Fen Lee & Yu-Yi Lien
Abstract：Coastal wetlands along migratory flyways are crucial in supporting staging or wintering waterbirds, yet they are often targeted for wind energy development. Potential conflicts are likely to be strong in densely populated East and Southeast Asia, where many bird species along the flyway are endangered, and wind energy projects are just flourishing. We investigated waterbird abundance and flight behavior at a coastal wind farm at the mid of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. For shorebirds roosting in the aquacultural ponds, the abundance showed no significant change in the study area compared with the control area across all development stages of the wind farm. For egrets breeding in the mangroves, fewer Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis were observed in the year of wind farm construction and the first year of wind farm operation, then the number recovered afterwards. Since the operation of the wind farm, birds avoided crossing closely spaced (200 m) turbines while travelling through widely spaced (500 m) ones more frequently. Shorebirds, egrets, and landbirds flew lower when turbines were present, reducing the overlap of their flight height with the swept zone. Our study suggests that coastal wind farms are not necessarily a great threat to waterbirds. Yet environmentally sound planning and rigorous monitoring are crucial in minimizing potential impacts.
Shaoxia Xia, Xiubo Yu, Jinyu Lei, Richard Hearn, Bena Smith, Gang Lei & Ping Xie
Abstract：The Yangtze River floodplain is critical for migratory waterbirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). Greater awareness of its global importance is urgently needed to ensure waterbird populations remain in favourable conservation status, as well as the enhancement of wider wetland biodiversity within this region. The designation of protected wetland areas and building a green ecological corridor in the Yangtze floodplain is now becoming a critical issue of interest to the Chinese government. Priority sites in this area were identified based on the criteria used to identify sites that qualify as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites) and Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) by using multi-source data. The results show that 140 of the sites surveyed are priority sites. The Importance Index (/) for the whole floodplain decreased slightly from 2001–2005 and an unbalanced distribution pattern is evident with Jiangxi and Hunan provinces significantly higher than the other provinces in the floodplain. Although more than 60% of the priority sites are currently located outside protected areas, the average Conservation Effectiveness Index (C) of the whole floodplain is 75.6%, which suggests the coverage of protected areas for most wintering waterbird population is reasonable. Conservation of the Yangtze River floodplain needs to be further strengthened due to declining waterbird abundances and the mismatch between the distribution of protected areas and their importance for wintering waterbirds. A comprehensive system for priority site identification and protection and scientific review is needed. Multi-sourced data from regular, systematic and coordinated monitoring of waterbird distribution and abundance across the EAAF, as well as national scale citizen science programmes are also critically important.
Jae Hyun Kim, Shinyeong Park, Seung Ho Kim, Eun Ju Lee
Abstract：The Hangang River and Imjingang River estuaries in Korea are part of the main transit route for many migratory birds that use the East Asia-Pacific flyway. Despite the global importance of this area as a seasonal bird stopover site and resting area, conservation areas have not been established in this area based on ecological properties. This study aimed to examine the umbrella effect of the white-naped crane (Antigone vipio), which is one of the best-known flagship species in East Asia, and to determine the effectiveness of establishing a conservation plan in the western DMZ based on the distribution of white-naped cranes. Species distribution modeling was performed for the white-naped crane; other threatened waterbirds wintering in the western DMZ; Group 1, including species with ecological traits similar to those of the white-naped crane; and Group 2, including species with ecological traits different from those of the white-naped crane. The modeling was based on field survey data from a citizen science project, and a systematic conservation planning approach was adopted for each species group. The results showed no significant differences between the plan for the target species and the plans for the other species groups, indicating that protecting white-naped cranes habitat can also protect the habitat of other threatened waterbirds.
3) Avian Influenza /Others
Sachiko Moriguchi, Rin Hosoda, Nana Ushine, Takuya Kato, Shin-ichi Hayama
Abstract：Since the re-emergence of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in 2004, outbreaks of the viral subtypes HPAI, H5N1, H5N8, and H5N6 in wild birds, poultry, and zoo birds have occurred in Japan. In 2008, a nation-wide avian influenza (AI) surveillance program was started for the early detection of the HPAI virus (HPAIV) and for the assessment of HPAIV infection among wild birds. In this study, we aimed to conduct an overview of the AI surveillance system of wild birds in Japan, including those in the regions and prefectures, to assess its overall performance and develop insights on its improvement. We analyzed past surveillance data in Japan and conducted questionnaire surveys for the officers in 11 regional branches of the Ministry of Environment and the nature conservation divisions of 47 prefectures to acquire details regarding those AI surveillance. We found that the early detection of HPAIV in wild birds was successfully achieved in only one of the five outbreak seasons during the 2008–2019 period in Japan, and the assessment of HPAIV infection had possibly not been adequate in the national surveillance system. In the winter season, AI surveillance in most prefectures were mainly conducted by means of passive surveillance through reported dead birds and active surveillance through collected waterbird feces. Conversely, less than half of the prefectures conducted bird monitoring, patrolling in migratory bird habitats, and AI antigen testing in rescued birds. In areas surrounding HPAI occurrence sites (<10 km), bird monitoring and patrolling efforts were enhanced. However, AI testing efforts in waterbird feces and rescued birds were decreased. The AI surveillance for endangered bird species and in national wildlife protection areas was conducted by the branches of the Ministry of Environment and by the prefectures. Based on our results, we concluded that for maximum efficiency, legislation which specialized in wildlife pathogens should be necessary to prepare adequate national budget and testing capacity for appropriate surveillance system with periodical assessment for surveillance results and the system.
Key words for searching in web of Science：
East Asian-Australasian flyway, flyway, migratory, water bird, wetland, Asia, Australia, shorebird, wader, Anatidae, seabird.