Are increasing roosting waterbird numbers responsible for eutrophication of shallow lakes? Examples from a Danish Ramsar site

Preben Clausen, Torben Linding Lauridsen, Claus Lunde Pedersen, Henrik Haaning Nielsen, Erik Jeppesen, Martin Søndergaard, Kees H.T. Schreven, Bart A. Nolet, Jesper Madsen, Anthony David Fox

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Abstract

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires actions from European Union Member States
to reduce external nutrient loading in lakes of moderate/ poor/bad ecological status and restore their good ecological status. Several poor-quality Danish lakes have been exempted from WFD criteria (and more proposed), due to suspected major imported nutrient contributions from waterbirds, without supporting evidence. Here, we estimated relative nutrient contributions from increasing numbers of roosting waterbirds compared to total nutrient loadings in four brackish lakes (43–491 ha) at an internationally important Ramsar site/EU Birds Directive Special Protection Area. Combining night- and daytime counts of roosting numbers of the most numerous species with intake and faecal output models, we
estimated roosting birds (mostly geese) contributed 0.2–0.4% of all N inputs (0.3–1.2 kg N/ha/year) and 0.6–2.0% of all P inputs (0.04–0.12 kg P/ha/year) in three lakes (one of which has been proposed exempted from WFD criteria), but potentially as high as 14% and 76%, respectively, at a fourth clearwater lake without direct inflow or outlets. These results confirm the need for case-by-case assessments of avian nutrient import relative to total nutrient balance before exempting lakes from WFD conditions due to supposed natural loading from waterbirds.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftHydrobiologia
Antal sider22
ISSN0018-8158
DOI
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 22 feb. 2024

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