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Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 340; doi:10.3390/su8040340

Wet Grasslands as a Green Infrastructure for Ecological Sustainability: Wader Conservation in Southern Sweden as a Case Study

1
Forest-Landscape-Society Research Network, School for Forest Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skinnskatteberg SE 739 21, Sweden
2
Institute of Forest Biology and Silviculture, Faculty of Forest Science and Ecology, Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Akademija LT 53361, Lithuania
3
Conservation Ecology Group, IFM Biology, Linköping University, Linköping SE 581 83, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
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Abstract

Biosphere Reserves aim at being role models for biodiversity conservation. This study focuses on the unsuccessful conservation of waders (Charadrii) on wet grasslands in the Kristianstad Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve (KVBR) in southern Sweden. Predation on nests and young has been proposed as one reason contributing to the decline of waders. We explored this hypothesis by comparing two landscapes, one with declining (KVBR) and one with stable (Östergötland) wader populations on managed wet grasslands in southern Sweden. Specifically, we tested three predictions linked to predation on wader nests and young, namely that (1) the relative abundance of avian predators and waders; (2) the avian predator abundance; and (3) the predation rate on artificial wader nests, should all be higher in declining versus stable populations. All predictions were clearly supported. Nevertheless, predation may not be the ultimate factor causing wader population declines. We discuss the cumulative effects of landscape change linked to increased food resources for predators, reduced wet grassland patch size and quality. Holistic analyses of multiple wet grassland landscapes as social-ecological systems as case studies, including processes such as predation and other factors affecting waders, is a promising avenue towards collaborative learning for wet grasslands as a functional green infrastructure. However, if governance and management approaches can be improved is questionable without considerable investment in both ecological and social systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: avian predation; biosphere reserve; birds of prey; charadrii; corvids; Kristianstad Vattenrike; predation; shorebirds; wet meadows avian predation; biosphere reserve; birds of prey; charadrii; corvids; Kristianstad Vattenrike; predation; shorebirds; wet meadows
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Manton, M.; Angelstam, P.; Milberg, P.; Elbakidze, M. Wet Grasslands as a Green Infrastructure for Ecological Sustainability: Wader Conservation in Southern Sweden as a Case Study. Sustainability 2016, 8, 340.

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