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Wednesday, April 11 • 4:15pm - 4:30pm
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT: Civil Airports From A Landscape Perspective: A Multi-Scale Approach With Implications For Reducing Bird Strikes

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AUTHORS: Morgan B. Pfeiffer, USDA APHIS WS, National Wildlife Research Center and School of Natural Resource Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, George Campus, George, Western Cape Province, South Africa; Jason D. Kougher, USDA APHIS WS, Airports Wildlife Hazards Program; Travis L. DeVault, USDA APHIS WS, National Wildlife Research Center

ABSTRACT: Collisions between birds and aircraft are a global problem that jeopardizes human safety and causes economic losses. Although these events are assumed to be related to landscape features surrounding the airport, no evidence exists. We investigated the effects of landscape structure on the adverse effect (AE) bird strike rate at 100 civil airports in the United States. The number of reported AE bird strikes was standardized by air carrier movements between 2009 and 2015. Land use structure and composition were quantified within 3, 8, and 13 km radii extents from airports using the National Land Cover Database and the Crop Data Layers. We predicted large amounts and close arrangements of aquatic habitat, open space, and high landscape diversity would positively influence the AE strike rate based on the habitat requirements of many species hazardous to aviation. The rate of AE bird strikes was positively influenced by large areas and close proximity of wetlands, water, and cultivated crops at the 8- and 13-km extents. Within 3 km of an airport, increasing landscape diversity and the amount of crop area increased the strike rate. We conclude that landscape structure and composition are predictors of the AE bird strike rate at multiple spatial scales. Our results can be used to promote collaborative management among wildlife professionals, airport planners, and landowners near airports to create an environment with a low probability of an AE bird strike. Specific priorities are to minimize the area of crops and increase the distances between patches of open water. Keywords landscape structure; land use; spatial patterns; urban ecology; wildlife damage

Wednesday April 11, 2018 4:15pm - 4:30pm CDT
LaSalle 1 (7th Floor)

Attendees (4)