Prioritising seabird restoration following predator eradication on islands

Seabird recovery can be rapid after predator eradication on islands, but it also can not be rapid at all. We investigated spatial and ecological influences on seabird recovery to islands following the eradication of introduced predators our paper: A GIS-based decision-making approach for prioritising seabird management following predator eradication, published in Restoration Ecology..

We used a large dataset of seabird census estimates on 69 islands in the Hauraki Gulf, Aotearoa. The region is a seabird diversity hotspot, supporting breeding populations of 27 seabird species and has a long history of predator invasion and eradications.

These data, along with ecological data that is specifically related to habitat preferences of seabirds and behavioural parameters were used in GIS-MCDA (geographic information systems – multi criteria decision analysis) to evaluate the constraints on recovery following predator eradications.

We identified nine islands with low observed passive recovery of seabirds post-eradication over a 50‐year timeframe, and classified these as sites where active seabird management could be prioritized. Such spatially explicit tools are flexible, allowing for managers to choose case‐specific criteria such as time, funding, and goals constrained for their conservation needs. Furthermore, this flexibility can also be applied to threatened species management by customizing the decision criteria for individual species’ capacity to passively recolonize islands. On islands with complex restoration challenges, decision tools that help island restoration practitioners decide whether active seabird management should be paired with eradication can optimize restoration outcomes and ecosystem recovery.

You can get a PDF here.

Islands identified in our GIS-Multi criteria decision analysis as sites suited for active seabird restoration following predator eradication.
Islands identified in our GIS-Multi criteria decision analysis as sites suited for active seabird restoration following predator eradication.

 

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