Continental-scale decreases in shorebird populations in Australia

Clemens, Robert S., Rogers, Danny I., Hansen, Birgita D., Gosbell, Ken, Minton, Clive D. T., Straw, Phil, Bamford, Mike, Woehler, Eric J., Milton, David A., Weston, Michael A., Venables, Bill, Weller, Dan, Hassell, Chris, Rutherford, Bill, Onton, Kimberly, Herrod, Ashley, Studds, Colin E., Choi, Chi-Yeung, Dhanjal-Adams, Kiran L., Murray, Nicholas J., Skilleter, Gregory A. and Fuller, Richard A. (2016) Continental-scale decreases in shorebird populations in Australia. Emu, 116 2: 119-135. doi:10.1071/MU15056

Author Clemens, Robert S.
Rogers, Danny I.
Hansen, Birgita D.
Gosbell, Ken
Minton, Clive D. T.
Straw, Phil
Bamford, Mike
Woehler, Eric J.
Milton, David A.
Weston, Michael A.
Venables, Bill
Weller, Dan
Hassell, Chris
Rutherford, Bill
Onton, Kimberly
Herrod, Ashley
Studds, Colin E.
Choi, Chi-Yeung
Dhanjal-Adams, Kiran L.
Murray, Nicholas J.
Skilleter, Gregory A.
Fuller, Richard A.
Title Continental-scale decreases in shorebird populations in Australia
Journal name Emu   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1448-5540
Publication date 2016-03-07
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/MU15056
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 116
Issue 2
Start page 119
End page 135
Total pages 17
Place of publication Clayton, VIC, Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Language eng
Abstract Decreases in shorebird populations are increasingly evident worldwide, especially in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). To arrest these declines, it is important to understand the scale of both the problem and the solutions. We analysed an expansive Australian citizen-science dataset, spanning the period 1973 to 2014, to explore factors related to differences in trends among shorebird populations in wetlands throughout Australia. Of seven resident Australian shorebird species, the four inland species exhibited continental decreases, whereas the three coastal species did not. Decreases in inland resident shorebirds were related to changes in availability of water at non-tidal wetlands, suggesting that degradation of wetlands in Australia's interior is playing a role in these declines. For migratory shorebirds, the analyses revealed continental decreases in abundance in 12 of 19 species, and decreases in 17 of 19 in the southern half of Australia over the past 15 years. Many trends were strongly associated with continental gradients in latitude or longitude, suggesting some large-scale patterns in the decreases, with steeper declines often evident in southern Australia. After accounting for this effect, local variables did not explain variation in migratory shorebird trends between sites. Our results are consistent with other studies indicating that decreases in migratory shorebird populations in the EAAF are most likely being driven primarily by factors outside Australia. This reinforces the need for urgent overseas conservation actions. However, substantially heterogeneous trends within Australia, combined with declines of inland resident shorebirds indicate effective management of Australian shorebird habitat remains important.
Keyword Shorebird populations
East Asian– Australasian Flyway (EAAF)
Australian shorebird habitat
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Biological Sciences Publications
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