In Wader Study: Reflections on the Jiangsu coastal development plans: loss of habitat leads to loss of birds

Report 9 August 2017:

Today a Forum paper was published in Wader Study, authored by Theunis Piersma and colleagues from China, Australia, America and New Zealand, reflecting on development plans of the coastal zone of Jiangsu Province – China.

The international team of shorebird scientists and intertidal experts says that the expected ecological impacts of reclamation of coastal and offshore mudflats in this area warrant new Environmental Impact Assessments.

The team describes in details how our satellite tracking data of shorebirds (see earlier blogs and figure below) together with insights in the functionality of tidal flat zones, emphasize the ecological value of two areas areas that are scheduled to be reclaimed soon: Tiaozini mudflats and the offshore Dongsha Shoals.

btg-TiaoziniDongsha-2-8-2017-new
Situation of the southern Jiangsu Province Tiaozini-Dongsha Shoals tidal flats north of the city of Rudong (left) and the reclamation plans in this area for 2009–2020 (the intertidal areas indicated in grey) combined with the density distribution of 15 staging, satellite-tagged female Bar-tailed Godwits in May 2015– July 2017 (right). White to orange coloured squares represent the number of high-quality locations of godwits in a 2 x 2 km area, obtained from Argos satellite tracking. A lack of grid squares indicates a lack of satellite locations, but of course does not mean that such areas were not visited by shorebirds. (Based on Y.-C. Chan, T.L. Tibbitts, T. Piersma et al. in prep.). From Wader Study 124-2: doi:10.18194/ws.00077

By summarizing a broad range of studies on shorebirds, Theunis Piersma and colleagues from China, Australia, America and New Zealand sketch the expected ecological impact of the developments on shorebirds, a.o. on two especially vulnerable species, Spoon-billed Sandpipers (Critically Endangered) and Nordmann’s Greenshanks (Endangered).

The Forum article is Open Access and is available at Wader Study: http://www.waderstudygroup.org/article/10005/

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