Relationship between Environmental Features and Bird Assemblages in the Wetlands of Eastern Romania

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Abstract

The avian habitats in Eastern Europe are poorly managed in last decades. It is of highly noteworthy influence importance to obtain more information regarding the link between birds’ presence and environmental features in wetlands to improve this poorly managed system. In our study we investigated the effects of the various habitat, landscape fragmentation and weather variables on the bird assemblages in Eastern Romania, described by diversity, species richness and abundance of non-passerine birds in wetlands. Poisson regression modelling revealed wetland area, wetland heterogeneity, proportion of open-water, density of patches and habitats, landscape shape and temperature conditions have a noteworthy influence on the bird assemblages (p<0,05). Our results suggest that the link between environmental features and birds’ assemblage, in our study areas could be dependent on the presence of the emergent vegetation (shelter / reproduction zones), the balance between open-water area (feeding / nesting zones) and also other variables, as the temperature, the presence of the human living facilities and/or intensive fish nurseries in the neighboring zones. Waterbird distribution and abundance in eastern part of Romania are driven by similar factors to other part of the world and this study could be one of the first published on the topic in a region where It is a lack of information on waterbirds ecology. Such studies would bring valuable information about the ecologic factors influencing the lives of the birds, in the areas that were not stueid before, resulting in better conservation efforts and wetland protection, in estern part of Europe.

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