Habitat selection of the globally threatened Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola at the western margin of its breeding range and implications for management

Franziska Tanneberger, Martin Flade, Zydrunas Preiksa, Boris Schröder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

The globally threatened Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola is an umbrella species for fen mires and is at risk of extinction in its westernmost breeding population due to severe habitat loss. We used boosted regression trees to model Aquatic Warbler habitat selection in order to make recommendations for effective management of the last remnant habitats. Habitat data were collected in the years 2004-2006 in all remaining breeding sites in Pomerania (eastern Germany and western Poland) as well as in recently abandoned sites. Models were validated using data from similar Aquatic Warbler habitats in Lithuania. The probability of occurrence of Aquatic Warblers in late May/early June was positively associated with low isolation from other occupied sites, less eutrophic conditions, a high proportion of area mown early in the preceding year, high availability of vegetation 60-70 cm high, high prey abundance and high habitat heterogeneity. Early summer land management is needed in the more productive sites to prevent habitat deterioration by succession to higher and denser vegetation. As this also poses a serious threat to broods, management that creates a mosaic of early and late used patches is recommended to preserve and restore productive Aquatic Warbler sites. In less productive sites, winter mowing can maintain suitable habitat conditions. Aquatic Warbler-friendly land use supports a variety of other threatened plant and animal species typical of fens and sedge meadows and can meet the economic interests of local land users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-358
Number of pages12
JournalIbis
Volume152
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acrocephalus paludicola
  • Fen mires
  • Land use mosaic
  • Species distribution model
  • Vegetation structure

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