BRANTA — Sarah M. Eglington
Managing water levels on wet grasslands for breeding waders
Institution: University of East Anglia, UK
Supervisors: JA Gill, WJ Sutherland, A Watkinson, M Bolton (RSPB), M Smart (RSPB))
Details: PhD 2007 (Expected)
Address: Centre for Ecology, Evolution & Conservation, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, NR4 7TJ, UK Email
Subject Keywords: Water level management, Conservation
Species Keywords: Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Lowland wet grasslands are a habitat of extreme importance for many breeding bird species across Europe, most of which are presently declining in number. Across the UK, loss of quantity and quality of wet grassland habitats is a major cause of these declines. There is thus a pressing need to identify management techniques which can (a) deliver maximum conservation benefits for breeding waders on nature reserves in the face of continued habitat loss, and (b) deliver significant conservation benefits outside of nature reserves whilst being compatible with current farming practices.
This PhD project will explore the costs and benefits associated with water management in grasslands, both for breeding waders, and for farmers. I aim to explore the appropriate design and management of wet features for both maximising breeding wader densities on nature reserves, and improving grasslands for breeding waders in the wider countryside whilst ensuring that this is compatible with farming practises.
Fieldwork will take advantage of the large-scale provisions of surface wet-features on RSPB reserves and farmland in the Broads. Survey work will be undertaken to study lapwing breeding success at various sites across the Broads and to relate this to habitat features.