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  • Titill er á ensku The impact of visitor disturbance on breeding Eider (Somateria mollissima) populations at Dyrhólaey nature reserve : implications for management
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  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    Managing the conflicts that occur between humans and wildlife is one of the primary concerns of reserve managers. As recreational use of the countryside increases, improving our understanding of disturbance impacts is vital in order to limit damage and to inform management of access on reserves. The aim of this study is to provide scientific advice to inform the management of visitors to Dyrhólaey Nature Reserve, Iceland.

    This study first investigates how the reserve is used by humans and the study species, common eider. An experimental method is then used to establish Alert Distance and Flight Initiation Distance for incubating eiders. Historical data was also analysed to show long-term trends. These data were then used to estimate the potential impacts of disturbance under current management and advise future management.

    Nest distribution across the reserve was varied with a concentration in less disturbed areas and around the reserve’s one fresh water source; historical data implies that distribution has changed over time. Results indicated that eiders at this stage of breeding are not very sensitive to disturbance with a maximum alert distance of 5.2m and 45% of birds showing no response. Sensitivity was found to be higher in less disturbed areas.
    The main conclusion of this paper is that, under current management, visitor disturbance is not likely to have a significant impact on incubating eiders on Dyrhólaey. Recommendations include the maintenance of buffer zones around key breeding areas and resources, encouragement of responsible access, and implementation of a monitoring program.

  • 1.7.2013

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