Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Use buffer zones to reduce the impact of invasive plant control

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

A study from the USA found that having buffer zones around snail kite Rostrhamus sociabilis nests, where no herbicides were sprayed, resulted in no nests being lost during a vegetation control programme.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A study from March-July in 1988 in one wetland area in Florida, USA (Rodgers 1998), found that creating ‘no-spray’ buffer zones extending 68 m around the perimeter of kite colonies and 23-46 m around individual nests resulted in none of the 19 snail kite nests monitored being adversely affected by an aquatic plant control program: nests averaged 0.73 fledglings/nest and no nests collapsed. This fledging rate was similar to the overall rate of 0.74 fledglings/nest recorded in other regions of Lake Okeechobee during 1987–1993. Buffer zones were used in the breeding season, whilst water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes and water lettuce Pistia stratiotes control measures were ongoing. The initiative was expanded to other lakes supporting kite nests in March 1989.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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