The impact of waterfowl foraging on the decomposition of rice straw: mutual benefits for rice growers and waterfowl

  • Published source details Bird J.A., Pettygrove G.S. & Eadie J.M. (2000) The impact of waterfowl foraging on the decomposition of rice straw: mutual benefits for rice growers and waterfowl. Journal of Applied Ecology, 37, 728-741.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Encourage foraging waterfowl

Action Link
Soil Fertility
  1. Encourage foraging waterfowl

    A controlled, replicated experiment in 1995-1996 on a silty clay soil in California, USA (Bird et al, 2000) found that waterfowl foraging activity increased straw decomposition by 78% in untilled plots and 18% in rolled plots (a roller crushes crop remains into the soil) compared to their respective un-foraged plots. Foraging and field tillage reduced nitrogen concentrations in the remaining straw residue at the end of the winter fallow period. Mallards did not incorporate the straw. Individual field plots (25 m2) were subjected to two post-harvest treatments: wet-rolled (field tillage) or untilled, replicated four times. Within these treatments, Mallard Anas platyrhynchos ducks were placed on one half of the plots, equivalent to 33 birds/ha from 1-18 February. Ten soil samples were taken from each plot on five sampling occasions. The study measured levels of residual rice straw and below-ground organic matter (carbon and nitrogen).


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