LNG 1-4 - Managing a mosaic of habitats for avifauna of the East Asian–Australasian Flyover

Tuesday, August 9, 2016: 8:30 AM
Floridian Blrm BC, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Cathleen Wigand1, Wei Wu2 and Chen-dong Tang2, (1)US EPA, Narragansett, RI, (2)Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve, Shanghai, China
Background/Question/Methods Non-native plant invasions which alter the existing habitat diversity of landscapes, challenge environmental managers to develop adaptive management approaches to best provide for global biodiversity in the Anthropocene. Invasive and non-native Spartina alterniflora has spread and displaced native plants and has altered the existing habitat diversity in the Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve (DNNR), China, threatening the usage of this wetland system by migratory, breeding, wading, and shore birds. The DNNR is 240 km2 (over 59, 000 acres), a Ramsar Convention wetland of international importance, with approximately 290 species of birds residing there and about 1 million migratory birds inhabiting the wetlands every year. The reserve is comprised of a mosaic of reed marshes (Phragmites australis), salt marshes (Scirpus spp., Suaeda spp.), mudflats, ponds, creeks, and islands. Confronted with the aggressive invasion of S. alterniflora and the loss of habitat diversity, the reserve managers and engineers are constructing sea walls to drown the plant in place in an experimental area of 2400 ha. The experimental area was also re-engineered to provide a mosaic of islands, mudflats, salt marsh and reed marshes to create refuges for avifauna. Floodgates will be used to manage the flooding and draining of various compartments of the experimental area. Now, use of herbicides is also being considered for control of the S. alterniflora where it continues to rapidly spread and vegetate mudflats as well as displace native plants in the DNNR. Loss of this expansive wetland system and stopover site could be devastating for East Asian-Australasian avifauna.  Results/Conclusions Short term assessments suggest the method is successful in drowning the S. alterniflora and in creating a variety of avifauna habitats. Monitoring and adaptive management plans within and outside the experimental area are under development to control the S. alterniflora and assess the condition and vulnerability of the site. The Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve represents an international model of adaptive management to promote global biodiversity.