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Restored and artificial wetlands do not support the same waterbird functional diversity as natural wetlands

The restoration of degraded areas and the creation of artificial ecosystems have partially compensated for the continuing loss of natural wetlands. However, the success of these wetlands in terms of the capacity of supporting biodiversity and ecosystem functions is unclear. Natural, restored, and artificially created wetlands present within the Doñana protected area were compared to evaluate if they are equivalent in terms of waterbird functional trait diversity and composition. Functional diversity measures and functional group species richness describing species diet, body mass, and foraging techniques were modelled in 20 wetlands in wintering and breeding seasons. Artificial wetlands constructed for conservation failed to reach the functional diversity of natural and restored wetlands. Unexpectedly, artificial ponds constructed for fish production performed better, and even exceeded natural wetlands for functional richness during winter. Fish ponds stood out as having a unique functional composition, connected with an increase in richness of opportunistic gulls and a decrease in species sensitive to high salinity. Overall, the functional structure of breeding communities was more affected by wetland type than wintering communities. These findings suggest that compensating the loss of natural wetlands with restored and artificial wetlands results in systems with altered waterbird?supported functions. Protection of natural Mediterranean wetlands is vital to maintain the original diversity and composition of waterbird functional traits. Furthermore, restoration must be prioritised over the creation of artificial wetlands, which, even when intended for conservation, may not provide an adequate replacement. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Almeida et al. (2020) Comparing the diversity and composition of waterbird functional traits between natural, restored, and artificial wetlands. Freshwater Biology DOI 10.1111/fwb.13618


https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/fwb.13618
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Is restocking a useful tool for increasing rabbit densities?

Is restocking a useful tool for increasing rabbit densities?

The European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus is endemic to Mediterranean ecosystems in the Iberian Peninsula, where it is a key species. In recent years its populations have declined due to several factors including habitat transformation and viral diseases. At the same time, corrective measures including population restocking in areas with low population densities using rabbits from other geographical areas have been performed. In this study we evaluate the impact restocking has had on the population dynamics of native rabbits in the Doñana National Park. As part of the natural processes monitoring program carried out in the Doñana Biological Station (ESPN-EBD-CSIC), rabbit censuses were conducted in spring and late summer in 2005–2015?at dusk and at night along six fixed transects in habitats harbouring rabbit populations. In order to take into account restocked rabbit numbers, annual reports from the Doñana Natural Area and data provided by the Lynx team of the LIFE project were incorporated into the study. In all, 52?336 rabbits from different parts of western Andalusia were released in the Doñana Biosphere Reserve in 2005–2015. Yet, rabbit populations underwent significant declines, above all in 2013 and 2015, with decreases in some areas of up to 80%. These results show intensive rabbit restocking did not increase the native rabbit populations numbers. The impact of the release of rabbits on the population dynamics of the species in Doñana is discussed. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Carro et al (2019) Is restocking a useful tool for increasing rabbit densities? Global Ecol Conserv https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00560


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989419300198