Navigation Links
Ducks flock to Extremadura thanks to its ricefields
Date:10/30/2012

Four new reservoirs linked to rice cultivation built in the middle basin of the Guadiana river in the middle of the 1990's have allowed various migratory dabbling duck species to significantly increase in number during the winter. Researchers at the University of Extremadura propose that Vegas Altas del Guadiana is turned into a new Special Protection Area for Birds.

Many aquatic migratory bird populations are in decline and the loss of natural wetland is one of the main causes. A study at the University of Extremadura financed by the Guadiana Hydrographic Confederation has analysed the migratory patterns of this type of bird both before and after the construction of these reservoirs in the area of Vegas Altas del Guadiana.

"Between 1991 and 1994 around 25,277 ducks spent the winter in the large reservoirs of Guadiana. This number increased to 46,163 between 2007 and 2010 and the vast majority was to be found in the four new reservoirs that are a lot smaller than those in the Guadiana middle basin. On the other hand, the large reservoirs saw an overall decline in their populations during the same two periods," as explained to SINC by Juan G. Navedo, lead researcher of the study published in the 'Bird Conservation International' journal.

According to the scientists, the development of ricefields (also considered as wetlands) is key to the study since the presence of this crop nearby probably ensures that these birds do not experience significant changes in their winter migration patterns.

The researcher emphasises that "the birds only rest on the reservoirs during the day and then flee in mass at dusk to feed in the nearby ricefields. Seeing the ducks take flight is a true spectacle."

Biogeographic populations of these species show a general downward trend. It is estimated that the birds that now spend their winter in Extremadura are probably from Southwest Europe (mainly the Doana Nature Reserve) or Northwest Africa, where the population of migratory dabbling ducks has also been in decline in recent decades.

Natural versus manmade wetlands

In the 1960's, various large reservoirs were construction for crop irrigation in Extremadura. Then, the relatively small reservoirs were built from the 1990's onwards near the ricefields.

For the purposes of the study, the team first designed and carried out monthly boat trips at specific times with the help of the Guadiana Hydrographic Confederation. In the case of the medium and small sized reservoirs, the birds were counted from the land at places were the whole wetland could be seen.

"We are by no means advocating the construction of new reservoirs to conserve migratory dabbling duck populations. Natural wetlands, in this case the tributary headwaters of the Guadiana River and its flood lands, are vital for biodiversity conservation. They also play a key role in the conservation of aquatic flora and fauna, especially some plants and invertebrate species as well as other aquatic bird species dependent on the marsh habitats of lake and damns," outlines the researcher.

The area making up these four 'new' reservoirs (Sierra Brava, Gargligas, Cubilar and Ruecas, along with the associated ricefields) is home to an average of more than 1% of Western Europe's biogeographic populations of dabbling duck species such as the Northern Shoveller (Anas clypeata), the Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) and the smallest duck in Europe, the Common Teal (Anas crecca).

"According to numerical criteria established by the Ramsar Convention and adopted by the EU Birds Directive regarding the nomination of Wetland of International Importance (a place that regularly shelters at least 1% of the different biogeographic population), the four reservoirs and the nearby ricefields should become a new Special Conservation Area for Birds (ZEPA), named Vegas Altas del Guadiana," conclude the researchers.


'/>"/>

Contact: SINC
info@agenciasinc.es
34-914-251-820
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Ducks Unlimited Canada and Canadian Light Source partnership to shed light on wetlands
2. Major migration of bird experts flock to Vancouver
3. Mid-Atlantic suburbs can expect an early spring thanks to the heat of the big city
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Ducks flock to Extremadura thanks to its ricefields
(Date:11/14/2016)... Nov. 14, 2016  Based on its ... Frost & Sullivan recognizes FST Biometrics with ... for Visionary Innovation Leadership. FST Biometrics emerged ... identification market by pioneering In Motion Identification ... instant, seamless, and non-invasive verification. This patented ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics and ... Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during ... the Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... of growth in each of the following categories: net square ... number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 On Monday, ... call to industry to share solutions for the Biometric ... U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP ... are departing the United States , ... and to defeat imposters. Logo - ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... ACEA Biosciences, Inc. announced today that it ... for AC0010 at the World Conference on Lung Cancer 2016, taking place in Vienna, ... phase I/II clinical trials for AC0010 in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... The Conference Forum has announced that ... and will take place on February 1-3, 2017 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New ... the program provides a unique 360-degree approach, which addresses the most up-to-date information regarding ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... ... Robots will storm the Prudential Center in Boston, MA during the 31 ... on the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, will highlight the achievements ... is partnering with NTI to showcase how technology can help individuals with severe disabilities ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... ... Voice Coil Actuator with a flexure design that ensures high alignment accuracy by ... pricing and is ideally suited where extreme precision is required, such as in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: