Portal to the Lesser White-fronted Goose

- by the Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose project

Literature type: General

Journal: Linnut-vuosikirja

Volume: 2021 , Pages: 24-31

Language: Finnish in Finnish with English summary

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Full reference: Tolvanen, P., Karvonen R., Aarvak T, Øien I.J., Kaartinen, R., Lampila P. & Mikander, N. 2022. Kolmenumeroisiin yksilömääriin – kiljuhanhen suojelu 2015–2021. [Conservation of the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus in 2015-2021.], Linnut-vuosikirja: 2021, 24-31

Keywords: Finland, trend, numbers, conservation, gsm-telemetry, migration routes

Abstract:

The critically endangered Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus population is currently estimated to number roughly 100 individuals. Following a dramatic long-term decline to only some 10 breeding pairs in 2007–2008, the population has since slowly been increasing. The spring staging of the population on the Finnish Bothnian Bay coast has been monitored by the WWF Finland Lesser White-fronted Goose conservation project since 1985. In spring 2017, 124 individuals were counted, which was the highest number during the history of the monitoring. The Bothnian Bay coast was historically also an important autumn staging area and since 2020, the geese have again been staging in the area also during autumn migration. Breeding of the species has not been recorded in Finland since 1995, but the likelihood of locating breeding pairs again in Finnish Lapland is considered to be increasing, as the Norwegian breeding population is growing. As a part of the current international Lesser White-fronted Goose EU LIFE project (wwf.fi/lwfg), environmental DNA is being used to map potential breeding sites in Finland.

Literature type: Thesis

Language: English

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Full reference: Markkola, J. 2022. Ecology and conservation of the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. , PhD thesis, Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A Scientiae Rerum Naturalium 770. Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, Finland.

Keywords: spring arrival, Anser erythropus, Anser fabalis, breeding schedule, habitat, diet selection, meadow management, population genetic structure, Finland

Abstract:

I studied the rare and threatened lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus), abbreviated LWfG in 1989–1996 in sub-arctic Finnish Lapland (I). The studied subpopulation consisted of 2–15 breeding pairs annually. A total of 30 broods were observed with an average of 2.9 goslings per brood. The 1st year survival of tagged 10 geese was low. Satellite locations, recoveries and resightings were received from NW Russia, Kazakhstan and the Azov Sea area. Cold spells had a negative, and the sum of effective temperatures by 5 July a positive influence on reproduction. Habitat selection (II) was studied in the same area. LWfG preferred the vicinity of water, flat close-range landscape, low forest height and intermediate relative altitudes. LWfG aggregated in the vicinity of conspecifics within the preferred habitats. The averaged RSF model assigned observation and random points correctly with 83.4% success. Locations of historical observations of LWfG matched the predicted distribution of breeding sites. (III) Spring migration patterns on the Bothnian Bay coast of LWfG were examined in 1907–1916 and 1949–2014 and the taiga bean goose (Anser fabalis fabalis) in 1975–2014. Arrival of the short-distance migrant A. fabalis advanced more and earlier than the long-distance migrant A. erythropus, 10.9 days since late 1980’s vs. 5.3 days since the beginning of the 2000’s. In the LWfG, the best model for explaining variation in timing included global and local temperatures, in A. fabalis global and local temperatures and winter NAO. Increasing global temperatures seem to explain trends in both. In the spring staging places of the Bothnian Bay almost all dietary items of the LWfG were Monocotyledons, mostly grasses growing in extensive sea-shore meadows (IV). Only Phragmites, Festuca and possibly Triglochin palustris were preferred. Lesser White-fronts preferred extensive natural meadows. Mowing and grazing benefit the restoration of habitats. Genetic structuring of the LWfG was examined in its whole distribution area from Fennoscandia to East Asia (V). A fragment of the control region of mtDNA was sequenced from 110 individuals. 15 mtDNA haplotypes were assigned to two mtDNA lineages. Molecular variance showed significant structuring among populations: the main western in north-western Russia – Central Siberia, the main eastern in East Asia and the Nordic one, which earns a status as an independent management unit.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Land

Volume: 11 , Pages: 1946

DOI: 10.3390/land11111946

Language: English

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Full reference: Fan, R., Lei, J., Wu, E., Lu, C., Jia, Y., Zeng, Q. & Lei, G. 2022. Species distribution modelling of the breeding site distribution gaps of Lesser White-fronted Goose in Siberia under climate change. Land 11: 1946 https://www.dx.doi.org/10.3390/land11111946

Keywords: climate change, breeding sites, conservation gaps, species habitat conservation, Siberia, Russia

Abstract:

Climate change has become an important cause of the loss of bird habitat and changes in bird migration and reproduction. The lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus) has a wide range of migratory habits and is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. In this study, the distribution of suitable breeding grounds for the lesser white-fronted goose was assessed in Siberia, Russia, using a combination of satellite tracking and climate change data. The characteristics of the distribution of suitable breeding sites under different climate scenarios in the future were predicted using the Maxent model, and protection gaps were assessed. The analysis showed that under the background of future climate change, temperature and precipitation will be the main climatic factors affecting the distribution of breeding grounds, and the area associated with suitable breeding habitats will present a decreasing trend. Areas listed as an optimal habitat only accounted for 3.22% of the protected distribution; however, 1,029,386.341 km2 of optimal habitat was observed outside the protected area. Obtaining species distribution data is important for developing habitat protection in remote areas. The results presented here can provide a basis for developing species-specific habitat management strategies and indicate that additional attention should be focused on protecting open spaces.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Ecology and Evolution

Volume: 2021;00 , Pages: 1-14.

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.7310

Language: English

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Full reference: Tian, H., Solovyeva, d., Danilov, G., Vartanyan, S., Wen,L., Lei, J., Lu, C., Bridgewater, P., Lei, G. & Zeng, Q. 2021. Combining modern tracking data and historical records improves understanding of the summer habitats of the Eastern Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. Ecology and Evolution 2021;00: 1-14. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7310

Keywords: Asia, Arctic, eastern population, GPS tracking, Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, species distribution modeling, summer range

Abstract:

The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus), smallest of the “gray” geese, is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and protected in all range states. There are three populations, with the least studied being the Eastern population, shared between Russia and China. The extreme remoteness of breeding enclaves makes them largely inaccessible to researchers. As a substitute for visitation, remotely tracking birds from wintering grounds allows exploration of their summer range. Over a period of three years, and using highly accurate GPS tracking devices, eleven individuals of A. erythropus were tracked from the key wintering site of China, to summering, and staging sites in northeastern Russia. Data obtained from that tracking, bolstered byground survey and literature records, were used to model the summer distribution of A. erythropus. Although earlier literature describes a patchy summer range, the model suggests a contiguous summer habitat range is possible, although observations to date cannot confirm A. erythropus is present throughout the modeled range. The most suitable habitats are located along the coasts of the Laptev Sea, primarily the Lena Delta, in the Yana-Kolyma Lowland, and smaller lowlands of Chukotka with narrow riparian extensions upstream along major rivers such as the Lena, Indigirka,and Kolyma. The probability of A. erythropus presence is related to areas with altitude less than 500 m with abundant wetlands, especially riparian habitat, and a climate with precipitation of the warmest quarter around 55 mm and mean temperature around 14°C during June-August. Human disturbance also affects site suitability, with a gradual decrease in species presence starting around 160 km from human settlements. Remote tracking of animal species can bridge the knowledge gap required for robust estimation of species distribution patterns in remote areas. Better knowledge of species' distribution is important in understanding the large-scale ecological consequences of rapid global change and establishing conservation management strategies.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Wildfowl

Volume: SpecIs 6 , Pages: 206–243.

Language: English

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Full reference: Ao, P., Wang, X., Solovyeva, D., Meng, F., Ikeuchi, T., Shimada, T., Park, J., Gao, D., Liu, G., Hu, B., Natsagdorj, T., Zheng, B., Vartanyan, S., Davaasuren, B., Zhang, J., Cao, L. & Fox, A. 2021. Rapid decline of the geographically restricted and globally threatened Eastern Palearctic Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. Wildfowl SpecIs 6: 206–243.

Keywords: abundance, key sites, migration routes, population trends, telemetry tracking

Abstract:

The Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, which breeds across northern Eurasia from Norway to Chukotka, is globally threatened and is currently classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Eastern Palearctic population of the species was thought to breed in arctic Russia, from east of the Taimyr Peninsula to Chukotka, and to winter in East Asia, but its precise status, abundance, breeding and wintering ranges, and migration routes were largely unknown, reducing the effectiveness of conservation efforts. In this paper, we combined results from satellite tracking, field surveys, a literature review and expert knowledge, to present an updated overview of the winter distribution and abundance of Lesser White-fronted Geese in the Eastern Palearctic, highlighting their migration corridors, habitat use and the conservation status of the key sites used throughout the annual cycle. Improved count coverage puts the Eastern Palearctic Lesser White-fronted Geese population at c. 6,800 birds in 2020, which represents a rapid and worrying decline since the estimate of 16,000 in 2015, as it suggests at least a halving of numbers in just five years. East Dongting Lake (Hunan Province) in China is the most important wintering site for the species in East Asia, followed by Poyang Lake (Jiangxi Province) and Caizi Lake (Anhui Province), with one key wintering site in Miyagi County in Japan. Satellite tracking showed that eight individuals captured during summer on the Rauchua River, Chukotka, Russia wintered in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River floodplain in China. Their migration speed was slower in spring than in autumn, mainly because of longer stopover duration at staging sites in spring. The tracked geese mainly used cultivated land on migration stopovers (52% in spring; 45% in autumn), tundra habitat in summer (63%), and wetlands (66%) in winter. Overall, 87% of the GPS fixes were in protected areas during the winter, far greater than in spring (37%), autumn (28%) and summer (7%). We urge more tracking of birds of differing wintering and breeding provenance to provide a fuller understanding of the migration routes, staging sites and breeding areas used by the geese, including for the birds wintering in Japan. The most urgent requirement is to enhance effective conservation and long-term monitoring of Lesser White-fronted Geese across sites within China, and particularly to improve our understanding of the management actions needed to maintain the species. Collaboration between East Asian countries also is essential, to coordinate monitoring and to formulate effective protection measures for safeguarding this population in the future.

Literature type: Report

Language: English

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Full reference: Vougioukalou, M. & Manolopoulos, A. 2020. Monitoring the Lesser White-fronted Goose in Greece 2018 - 2020. , Hellenic Ornithological Society / BirdLife Greece. 13pp.

Keywords: Greece, monitoring, Kerkini Lake, Evros Delta, wintering, space use, telemetry, mr. Blue

Literature type: General

Journal: Tringa

Volume: 2/2020 , Pages: 47-50.

Language: Finnish (In Finnish)

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Full reference: Tolvanen, P. 2020. Voiko Tringan alueella vielä nähdä villin ja vapaan kiljuhanhen? [Is it still possible to see a wild LWfG in of the region of Uusimaa, southern Finland?], Tringa: 2/2020, 47-50.

Keywords: Finland, occurrence, distribution, numbers, population size, satellite tracking, mr. Blue

Literature type: Thesis

Language: English

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Full reference: Marolla, F. 2020. Understanding and forecasting population dynamics in changing arctic ecosystems. A holistic approach to study the effects of environmental changes on arctic populations of management concern. , Doctoral thesis, Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, The Arctic University of Norway.

Keywords: population dynamics, culling, mortality, production, Fennoscandia

Literature type: Thesis

Language: Chinese (Mandarin) (In Chinese with English abstract and legends)

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Full reference: Ao, P. 2020. Migration strategies and conservation of two large-bodied Anatidae species in East Asia. , Master thesis, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. 105 pp.

Keywords: Satellite tracking, Migration strategy, Land use, Conservation status, China, Yangtze River, Dongting Lake, Poyang Lake, Shengjin Lake

Abstract:

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) is the most threatened flyway in the world. China is located in the center of the EAAF where more than one million Anatidae waterbirds winter every year. With the economic development in China, the loss of wetland has resulted in the declining waterfowl diversity and abundance. In order to conserve the waterfowl population and their habitats in China, it is urgent to define the distribution of key species, determine the distribution of key species and obtain the population estimates and historical changes, the location, land use and conservation status of key habitats. Based on satellite tracking, remote sensing data, field survey, ringing resightings, literature review and expert knowledge, we studied the Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus, a common species, and the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, a global threatened species. The main results are: Satellite tracking, field survey, ringing resightings, literature review and expert knowledge found the East Asian populations of Whooper Swans summered from Yenisei River in the west to Anadyr River in the East, south to the border between China and Mongolia, and wintered in Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, Beijing, middle and lower reaches of Yellow River in China, South Korea and Japan. The Whooper Swans that summered in central and western Mongolia, wintered in China; swans that summered in eastern Mongolia, wintered in China and South Korea; and swans that summered in Far East Russia, wintered in Japan. The East Asian population of Whooper Swans was estimated as 57,700, which increased compared to that in 2011 (42,000-47,000 individuals). Eight key wintering sites were found in Xinjiang, Qinghai, Henan and Shandong in China, six in the coastal and inland wetlands in South Korea and 14 in Hokkaido, Miyagi, and Iwate counties in Japan. Satellite tracking, ringing resightings and remote sensing data identified five wintering areas of Whooper Swans that summered in western Mongolia, namely, Xinjiang (12%), Gansu-Qinghai (16%), Henan-Shanxi-Shaanxi (51%), Beijing (2%), Shandong (19%), from west to east. The population growth may be related to the artificial food of two largest wintering areas (Henan-Shanxi-Shaanxi and Shandong). Tracked swans mainly used water in autumn, winter and summer (82% in autumn, 74% in winter and 62% in summer), and cultivated land (64%) in spring. 47% of the GPS fixes were in protected areas in summer, higher than those in winter (35%), spring (0%) and autumn (26%). The mean migration duration in spring was 21 days (range March 1 - April 15), and in autumn it was 14 days (range October 3 - November 13). At the same time, it is found that the conservation proportion in spring was 0. Therefore, it is suggested to strengthen the conservation of important stopover sites of the Whooper Swan in the bend of the Yellow River. The migration speed in spring was slower than that in autumn, due to more stopover sites and longer stopover duration in spring, which does not support the classic migration theory which claims that spring migration should be faster than autumn migration. Satellite tracking, field survey, literature review and expert knowledge found that the East Asian Lesser White-fronted Geese that summered from the Anabas River in the west to the Anadyr River in the east, and to the Far East Taiga in the south, wintered in the middle and lower Yangtze River in China, South Korea and Japan. The East Asian population of Lesser White-fronted Geese was estimated as 4,200, which declined compared to that in 2015 (16,000 individuals). East Dongting Lake in Hunan Province is the most important wintering site for Lesser White-fronted Geese, followed by Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province and Caizi Lake in Anhui Province, and one key wintering site in Miyagi County in Japan. Satellite tracking and remote sensing data found that the major wintering sites of the tracked Lesser White-fronted Geese were Dongting Lake (50%), Poyang Lake (24%) and Shengjin Lake (18%) in China, and they summered in the Arctic tundra of Russia and Far East Taiga. The tracked geese mainly used cultivated land (52% in spring and 45% in autumn), tundra in summer (63%) and wetland (66%) in winter. 87% of the GPS fixes were in protected areas in winter, higher than that in spring (37%), autumn (28%) and summer (7%). The breeding area were located in the less populated Arctic tundra, although the proportion in protected area in summer was low. The Lesser White-fronted Goose was more concentrated in nature reserves during the wintering period, thus the conservation proportion in wintering area is high. Dongting Lake is the largest wintering site. However, its hydrological changes resulted in the decrease of food, degradation of habitats, and might have led to the decrease of population. Therefore, it is suggested to restore and maintain of the natural hydrological process of the wintering habitat of geese. At the same time, the conservation proportion in spring and autumn was relatively low, so it is suggested to strengthen the conserve of Northeast Plain in China, the main stopover sites in spring and autumn. The migration speed of Lesser White-fronted Geese in spring was slower than that in autumn, mainly due to the longer stopover duration in spring, which does not support the classic migration theory. Both the Whooper Swan and the Lesser White-fronted Goose are large-bodied Anatidae waterbirds in EAAF. The overall conservation proportion of the Lesser White-fronted Goose is higher than Whooper Swan, but the number decreased, which may be related to its unique requirement of food and habitat. The Lesser White-fronted Goose was affected by the decrease of food resources caused by the hydrological change of the Yangtze River, while the swan was affected by local conservation measures. Therefore, we suggest conservation strategies for these two species that faced different conservation challenge: the key point for the conservation of the Lesser White-fronted Geese is the restoration and maintenance of the natural hydrological process in the wintering area, and that of the Whooper Swan is to conserve and restore the key natural habitat and reduce the dependence of the swan on artificial food.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Freshwater biology

Volume: 64 , Pages: 1183-1195.

DOI: 10.1111/fwb.13294

Language: English

Full reference: Jialin, L., Yifei, J., Yuyu, W., Guangchun, L., Cai, L., Neil, S., & Li, W. 2019. Behavioural plasticity and trophic niche shift: How wintering geese respond to habitat alteration. Freshwater biology 64: 1183-1195. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13294

Keywords: behavioural response, hydrological regimes, trophic niche width, trophic position, wintering habitats, China

Abstract:

1. The accelerated rate of human-induced environmental change poses a significant challenge for wildlife. The ability of wild animals to adapt to environmental changes has important consequences for their fitness, survival, and reproduction. Behavioural flexibility, an immediate adjustment of behaviour in response to environmental variability, may be particularly important for coping with anthropogenic change. The main aim of this study was to quantify the response of two wintering goose species (bean goose Anser fabalis and lesser white-fronted goose Anser erythropus) to poor habitat condition at population level by studying foraging behaviour. In addition, we tested whether behavioural plasticity could alter trophic niche. 2. We characterised foraging behaviours and calculated daily home range (HR) of the geese using global positioning system tracking data. We calculated standard ellipse areas to quantify niche width using the δ13C and δ15N values of individual geese. We linked behavioural plasticity with habitat quality using ANCOVA (analysis of covariance) models. We also tested the correlation between standard ellipse areas and HR using ANCOVA model. 3. We found significant differences in geese foraging behaviours between years in their daily foraging area, travel distance and speed, and turning angle. Specifically, the birds increased their foraging area to satisfy their daily energy intake requirement in response to poor habitat conditions. They flew more sinuously and travelled faster and longer distances on a daily basis. For the endangered lesser white-fronted goose, all behaviour variables were associated with habitat quality. For bean goose, only HR and turning angle were correlated with habitat quality. The birds, especially the lesser white-fronted goose, may have had a higher trophic position under poor conditions. 4. Our findings indicate that wintering geese showed a high degree of behavioural plasticity. However, more active foraging behaviours under poor habitat condition did not lead to a broader trophic niche. Habitat availability could be responsible to the divergent responses of foraging HR and isotopic niche to human-induced environmental change. Therefore, maintaining natural hydrological regimes during the critical period (i.e. September–November) to ensure that quality food

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