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Keywords:

  • Agricultural conflict;
  • Anser brachyrhynchus;
  • biofuel;
  • future land-use scenario;
  • species distribution model

ABSTRACT

Feeding on farmland by overwintering populations of pink-footed geese (Anser brachyrhynchus) conflicts with agricultural interests in Northern Europe. In order to forecast the potential future of this conflict, we used generalized linear models to relate the presence and absence of pink-footed geese to variables describing the contemporary landscape, and predicted their future distributions in relation to two land-use scenarios for the year 2050. One future scenario represented a global, economically orientated world (A1) and the other represented a regional, environmentally concerned world (B2). The probability of goose occurrence increased within cropland and grassland, and could be explained by their proximity to coast, elevation, and the degree of habitat closure. Predictions to future scenarios revealed noticeable shifts in the suitability of goose habitat evident at the local and regional scale in response to future shifts in land use. In particular, as grasslands and croplands give way to unsuitable land-use types (e.g. woody biofuel crops, increased urbanization, and forest) under both future scenarios, our models predicted a decrease in habitat suitability for geese. If coupled with continued goose population expansion, we expect that the agricultural conflict will intensify under the A1 and particularly the B2 scenarios.