Individual study: Review of vegetation management in breeding colonies of North Atlantic terns
Lamb J.S. (2015) Review of vegetation management in breeding colonies of North Atlantic terns. Conservation Evidence, 12, 53-59
Although guano from nesting seabirds is known to fertilize vegetation in nesting colonies, resulting in increased vegetation height and cover, little published research addresses the loss of nesting habitat that may result from this overgrowth. Terns, which nest in limited areas of predator-free, undeveloped coastal habitat, are especially vulnerable to nesting habitat loss due to vegetation overgrowth, but very little information in the scientific literature is applicable to management efforts in seabird nesting habitat. I gathered information on vegetation management effort and success at tern nesting colonies from a survey of colony managers throughout the temperate North Atlantic, as well as from published and unpublished literature. I identified twelve applicable techniques in three categories: vegetation control during the period of plant growth, vegetation control prior to the period of plant growth, and habitat construction. Although the effectiveness of all techniques varied widely across locations and application methods, habitat construction techniques were the most likely to provide nesting habitat for a full season without vegetation re-growth. I summarize general factors likely to influence the effectiveness of management efforts and offer guidelines for choosing different techniques for managing vegetation.