Barnacle goose Branta leucopsis derogation shooting effort in relation to abundance and vulnerable crops

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The population of barnacle geese wintering in Denmark has shown a steep increase during the last decades, prompting a parallel escalation of agricultural conflicts. In Denmark, economic compensation to farmers suffering goose damage to crops is not practiced, but despite that the barnacle goose is fully protected, landowners can obtain a permit to undertake so-called derogation shooting (lethal scaring) to reduce local damage to agricultural crops where other means of scaring have been insufficient. Here, we describe the development in numbers and derogation efforts of barnacle geese in Denmark in the period 2010/11 – 2018/19. We demonstrate that differences in the number of issued derogation permits across the country is primarily explained by differences in barnacle goose abundance, and secondarily, by prevalence of vulnerable crops and differences in crop productivity. Hence, derogation efforts are highest in areas with many geese, high proportions of crops vulnerable to goose grazing and high crop yields. Our analysis indicates that the level of conflict, and probably the economic impact of affected farmers, is proportional to the abundance of geese present locally. While the increasing derogation shooting may be a temporary solution to individual farmers, current unorganised practice might only redistribute geese locally and increase energy demands of the affected birds. Currently, there is a lack of alternative and undisturbed accommodation areas in the Danish agricultural landscape for the displacement of geese to achieve a satisfactory effect of derogation shooting.
TidsskriftAgriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2022