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Detrimental and favorable influences effecting the dispersion of wintering bean geese anser fabalis and white fronted geese anser albifrons



Detrimental and favorable influences effecting the dispersion of wintering bean geese anser fabalis and white fronted geese anser albifrons



Vogelwelt 104(2): 54-67



A. fabalis and A. albifrons spending the winter in the Dollart-Emsland-area (northwest Germany) were studied from 1977-1982 with respect to changes in their spatial distribution. Flocks of these species spread into areas where in former years few or almost no feeding geese were observed. The 1st reason for this development was the increase in numbers of the geese. A 2nd important reason was the decreasing flight distances. Due to these circumstances the geese could regain pastureland which had become attractive as feeding areas although it had been drained and divided up into smaller units by agricultural roads. Different species preferred different feeding areas. The whitefronts significantly frequented the almost treeless, brackish marshes close to the Dollart bay while the bean geese could be found more often far from the coast (up to 30 km). The living conditions of wild geese are very confined due to agricultural and infrastructural changes such as roads through pastureland and drainage. Disturbing factors worsen the living conditions. The different disturbing factors (e.g., traffic and hunting) are discussed in detail. Here a major role is played by hunting, which, in its present form and in a modern-day agricultural setting, was not a suitable means for the management of the geese flocks. Bean geese and whitefronts have not been hunted since 1977 in Lower Saxony. The resulting decrease of their flight distances has encouraged a wider distribution. The problems of reestablishing an open season for them are discussed. The reduction of disturbing factors must be recognized as the decisive question in any consideration of the proper management of wild geese. The creation of hunting-free-areas are advocated. A catalog of demands for the preservation of geese is presented, including protection of the geese's wintering grounds.

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