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Title: An introduction to Railway Ecology. Chap11 - Assessing Bird Exclusion Effects in a Wetland Crossed by a Railway (Sado Estuary, Portugal)
Authors: Godinho, Carlos
Catarino, Luisa
Marques, João Tiago
Mira, António
Beja, Pedro
Editors: Borda-de-Água, Luís
Barrientos, Rafael
Beja, Pedro
Pereira, Henrique
Keywords: Aquatic birds
Habitat loss
Human disturbance
Environmental impact
Transportation infrastructures
Zone of influence
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Godinho, C.; Catarino, L., Marques, J.T.; Mira, A.; Beja, P. (2017). Assessing bird exclusion effects of wetland crossing by a railway. In Borda-de-Água, L.; Barrientos, R.; Beja, P.; Pereira, H.M. (eds.), An Introduction to Railway Ecology. Springer, Cham, pp:179-196
Abstract: Linear transportation infrastructures may displace wildlife from nearby areas that otherwise would provide adequate habitat conditions. This exclusion effect has been documented in roads, but much less is known about railways. Here we evaluated the potential exclusion effect on birds of a railway crossing a wetland of international importance (Sado Estuary, Portugal). We selected 22 sectors representative of locally available wetland habitats (salt pans, rice paddy fields, and intertidal mudflats); of each, half were located either close to (0–500 m) or far from (500–1500 m) the railway line. Water birds were counted in each sector between December 2012 and October 2015, during two months per season (spring, summer, winter, and autumn) and year, at both low and high tide. We recorded 46 species, of which the most abundant (>70% of individuals) were black-headed gull, greater flamingo, northern shoveler, black-tailed godwit, and lesser black-backed gull. Peak abundances were found in autumn and winter. There was no significant variation between sectors close to and far from the railway in species richness, total abundance, and abundance of the most common species. Some species tended to be most abundant either close to or far from the railway albeit not significantly so but this often varied across the tidal and annual cycles. Overall, our study did not find noticeable exclusion effects of this railway on wetland birds, with spatial variation in abundances probably reflecting habitat selection and daily movement patterns. Information is needed on other study systems to assess the generality of our findings.
ISBN: 978-3-319-57495-0
Type: bookPart
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