Breeding success of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa under 'mosaic management' : an experimental agrienvironment scheme in The Netherlands
- Black-tailed Godwits (Limosa limosa) have been declining for decades in The Netherlands and so far this has not been slowed by conservation measures. A new form of agri-environment scheme was tried out in 2003-2005 at 6 sites where a ‘grassland mosaic’ (200-300 ha) was created by collectives of farmers through a diverse use of fields including postponed and staggered mowing, (early) grazing, creating ‘refuge strips’ during mowing, and active nest protection. We measured breeding success of godwits in each of the experimental sites and nearby, paired controls. Breeding success was higher (0.28 chicks fledged / pair) in mosaics than in controls, but due to lower agricultural nest losses only. Chick survival was 11 % in both mosaics and controls. The amount of late-mown and other grassland suitable for chicks hardly differed between treatments during the fledging period, mainly due to rainfall delaying postponed mowing in all sites. Chick survival was however positively correlated with site variation in the amount of high grass (>18 cm). Breeding success was high enough to compensate for adult mortality (ca. 0.6) in only one mosaic site. Chick survival was lower than in previous Godwit studies, indicating that additional loss factors have increased. Predation (50-80 % of chicks, mostly by birds) is a candidate, but changes in the suitability of late-mown grassland (insect abundance and sward density in grass monocultures) may also play a role. Consequently a higher management investment is needed to achieve a self-sustaining population.
The importance of early breeding in Black-tailed Godwits (Limosa limosa)
- Human impacts on the landscape have increased the penalties for Black-tailed Godwits laying their eggs too late, especially in the very intensive agricultural landscapes of The Netherlands. Thus, godwits have experienced a dramatic change of their fitness landscape, because the advance in mowing date made late clutches worthless destroying either eggs or chicks. To determine the driving forces of the recent population decline we study the individual variation in timing of breeding with respect to reproductive success in a population unaffected by mowing. Our results show that even in a low intensity agricultural area it is very important for godwits to breed early in the season.
Predation on meadowbirds in The Netherlands : results of a four-year study
- Meadowbird populations in The Netherlands are under great pressure. Recently, predation is named increasingly
often as one of the key factors in contributing to the declines. A four-year research project (2001-2005) aimed to
collect (as yet mostly nonexisting) data to provide a factual basis for this discussion. A country-wide inventory based
on data for wader nests found by volunteers who mark nests for their protection from grazing/mowing indicated that
above-average predation losses are found predominantly in the half-open landscapes of northern and eastern Netherlands,
but also locally in the low-lying open grasslands which are the key areas for meadowbirds. Nest predation has increased in recent years, but the same is true for agricultural losses, at least in areas where no nest-protection takes
place. At a local scale, predation losses vary greatly from area to area and from year to year. Temperature loggers in nest showed that diurnal and nocturnal predators contribute equally in total predation losses up to 50%, but higher predation losses are mainly caused by nocturnal predators. As many as 10 animal species were identified as nest predators
on nests under surveillance with video cameras. Chick survival, investigated using radiotelemetry, was very low. About 60-80% were lost by predation, 5-15% by agricultural activities and 10-15% to all kind of other losses. At least 15
predator species were implied, with an apparently larger share taken by birds (notably Buzzard (16%) and Grey Heron
(7-18%)) than mammals, with one exception: stoat (16%). Of the most-discussed predator species, Carrion Crows were
W. Teunissen et al. Osnabrücker Naturwiss. Mitt. 32 2006
138 remarkably rarely involved in both nest and chick predation, while Red Foxes take a large toll of clutches in some areas, but not in others. Of all losses during the reproductive cycle about 75% and 60% was due to predation in Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit respectively. Predation on chicks by birds had the largest effect on total breeding success, but at the same time elimination of this loss factor (if at all possible) alone would not be sufficient to establish a self-sustaining population. Predation seems to have become a factor of importance in some areas, in combination with already existing other losses. Our findings suggest that solutions to predation problems probably have to be found in locally/regionally targeted, specific action on multiple fronts rather than countrywide measures.
Some considerations and thoughts on the pragmatic classification of apomictic Rubus taxa : dedicated to Professor Dr. Dr. H. E. Weber on the occasion of his 65th birthday
- Based on his studies of the genus Rubus in the Czech Republic, the author describes classification of brambles from Rubus subgen. Rubus in Europe, its recent history, present state, and current problems. In general, the author follows the adherents of "Weberian batology" which in the last 25 years has assumed European responsibility for attempting to ciassify that particular genus. The thesis that not every bramble plant can be inciuded in the ciassification is accepted. The objective reasons for taxonomic difficulties within Rubus subgen. Rubus are connected with special features of taxogenesis of its members, especially with incomplete apomixis, frequent hybridization, splitting of the progeny into different morphotypes, resexualization, transitory existence of segregants, etc. The progress of the evolution of a new taxon in the given taxonomic group can be ranked: individual bush - local type - regional species - species with an extensive distribution area. When classifying a taxon, alongside sufficient morphological characteristics,
great emphasis should be put on the distribution area; its extent can render possible the taxon to be accepted into the classification scheme. On the basis of experience gained from the Czech Republic, the author has accepted some modifications of the scale for acceptance of plants as species. The basic difference is in lowering the low limit of the extent of the distribution area for regional species, to be acceptable for their lnclusion to the classification, i.e. to 20 km in diameter. In contrast to taxa of other plant groups, species of apomictic brambles with more extensive distribution areas are phytogeographically more important than those with small distribution areas. In spite of the use of stricter requirements for the description of new species in Rubus, it appears that many (distinct) species have been neglected until now, and that the number of species in Rubus subgen. Rubus is continuously increasing. The author stresses the necessity of studying the group ser. Glandulosi in Central Europe and points out the usefulness of cooperation with population ecologists to describe the quantitative representation of taxonomically unclassified bramble plants in the field.
Four new species of the feather mite genus Sokoloviana Dubinin, 1951 (Pterolichoidea; Ptiloxenidae) from waders (Charadriiformes; Charadrii)
- Four new species of the genus Sokoloviana (Pterolichoidea; Ptiloxenidae) from waders suborder Charadrii (Charadriiformes) are described: Sokoloviana cornuta sp. nov. from the Banded Stilt, Cladorhynchus leucocephalus; Sokoloviana ibidorhynchae sp. nov. from the Ibis-bill, Ibidorhyncha strutersi; Sokoloviana chilensis sp. nov. from the Southern Lapwing, Vanellus chilensis and Sokoloviana vanelli sp. nov. from the Red-wattled Lapwing, Vanellus indicus atronuchalis. A key to all described species is given.