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Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)

The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme


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The authors are solely responsible for the content of this report. Material included herein does not represent the opinion of the European Community, and the European Community is not responsible for any use that might be made of it.
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Determinants of bird habitat use in TIDE estuaries

9b. Management Recommendations

Based on the analysis, and other broader information, the following management recommendations are therefore made:
  • The positive relationship between intertidal habitat area and waterbird density is a potentially important conclusion for estuarine management, as it suggests that the fragmentation of intertidal habitat from a range of anthropogenic activities, as well as the effective reduction in the width of mudflat from coastal squeeze may result in a reduction of waterbird usage density.
  • Based on the above, compensatory measures such as managed realignment resulting from intertidal development offsetting may need to consider the delivery of sufficient (additional) habitat area to accommodate fragmentation effects of the land-claim in addition to direct losses e.g. an increase in the offset area compensation ratio.
  • Habitat recreation in estuaries is not always successful, and carrying capacity can be lower than more natural areas. As such, the management priority should be to minimise habitat loss from development (ideally avoid loss), and in particular, avoid fragmentation with an ‘over compensation’ principle applied in offsetting areas.
  • Although not identified as a key determinant from this analysis (probably due to the nature of the data used), disturbance has been identified as a significant influence on habitat utilisation by waterfowl species, and as such, management needs to ensure disturbance stimuli are restricted and where possible provide refugia where disturbance is at a low/background level.
  • In particular the provision of undisturbed high tide roost areas, both on the upper shore of the estuary and the immediate hinterland is considered very important, these should be located in close proximity to preferred foraging areas and where possible integrated under the Natura 2000 designation, and, in the case of agricultural land, managed in conjunction with the land owner to maximise the conservation potential (e.g. crop types, fallow periods, cropping timing etc)



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