Optimal management of a goose flyway: migrant management at minimum cost
Article first published online: 30 JUL 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 British Ecological Society
Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume 45, Issue 5, pages 1446–1452, October 2008
How to Cite
Klaassen, M., Bauer, S., Madsen, J. and Possingham, H. (2008), Optimal management of a goose flyway: migrant management at minimum cost. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45: 1446–1452. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01532.x
- Issue published online: 29 AUG 2008
- Article first published online: 30 JUL 2008
- Received 4 February 2008; accepted 28 June 2008Handling Editor: Jenny Gill
- pink-footed goose;
- Anser brachyrhynchus;
- dynamic programming;
- economic costs;
- flyway management;
- nature conservation
- 1We adopt a ‘whole flyway’ approach to modelling scenarios for protecting migratory birds, aiming at efficient and cost-effective conservation of flyway habitat.
- 2We developed a model to minimize flyway management costs while safeguarding a migrating bird population. The model assumes that the intensity of the birds’ use of sites can be manipulated by varying management regimes (with concomitant costs) and that the birds make optimal use of the conditions created along their flyway.
- 3We used dynamic programming to find the sequence of migratory decisions that maximizes the fitness of the migrants given a range of management scenarios, followed by a management cost estimate of all these scenarios and selection of those scenarios yielding an optimal solution from both an economic and the migrants’ perspective.
- 4Using the population of pink-footed geese Anser brachyrhynchus that breed in Svalbard as an example, we calculated that the cheapest management scenario given current compensation payment rates at the various goose stopover sites yielded a 35% cost saving over current management. This cheapest scenario provides a migration itinerary that is very similar to the current itinerary used by the geese. This is fortuitous since changing environmental conditions may put the migrants at risk.
- 5Synthesis and application. Given the global threats to migratory birds, developing a framework for efficient and effective conservation of flyway habitat is an urgent need. Such a framework may likewise be used to assist in controlling migrants causing conflict with agriculture, such as several goose species, in an economic and responsible fashion. Our suggested exemplified framework identified large unexplainable differences in management costs between regions. Differences in management costs between staging sites for birds make big differences to the optimal management of a flyway. Hence, to achieve efficient and effective management of migratory birds, we firstly need an objective assessment of the cost of management in different locations, followed by a modelling approach as here advocated, and followed up by a collaborative action of managers along the entire flyway.