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Wednesday, April 11 • 10:30am - 10:45am
SYMPOSIA-14: Response of Avian Communities to Water Management in the Floodplain Grasslands of the Mekong Delta

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AUTHORS: Paul Senner*, Lincoln Park Zoo and the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Jeb Barzen, Private Lands Conservation; Janet Silbernagel, University of Wisconsin-Madison

ABSTRACT: The lower Mekong Delta has undergone decades of land use change and hydrological alteration resulting in the loss of floodplain grasslands which support a unique assemblage of grassland and wetland bird species. Reinstating historical flood pulse dynamics has been identified as one method for restoring biotic communities in altered riverine ecosystems. To explore the impacts of flood pulse management on wet grassland bird communities we used current and historical survey data to compare avian community composition and model avian habitat selection during different water management periods at the floodplain recessional grasslands of Tràm Chim National Park, Vietnam. Two surveys occurred during flood pulse water management (1994 and 2016), and the other followed a decade of year-round high water management (2006). We hypothesized that bird community composition would be more similar during flood pulse management, than during high water management, and that water depth and vegetation structure would be the major drivers of avian community composition at Tràm Chim. To test these hypotheses we used PERMANOVA to compare avian community composition between treatments and Redundancy Analysis to identify the habitat variables associated with avian site selection. We found that occupancy rates for species associated with ponded water, not grassland ecosystems, were highest during high water management. Additionally, survey year and vegetation composition, and not site level water depth, was the major determinant of avian community composition at our survey sites. Our findings support a continuation of flood pulse water management at Tràm Chim, and can serve as a model for floodplain grassland restoration in the face of ongoing hydropower development in the Mekong watershed.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 10:30am - 10:45am CDT
LaSalle 5 (7th Floor)

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