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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Mowing and fertilizer treatment of grassland feeding refuges for pink-footed geese Anser brachyrhynchus at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB Reserve, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Published source details

Patterson I.J. & Fuchs R.M.E. (2001) The use of nitrogen fertilizer on alternative grassland feeding refuges for pink-footed geese in spring. Journal of Applied Ecology, 38, 637-646


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Fertilize artificial grasslands Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1990-1993 at a reserve in Aberdeenshire, Scotland (Patterson & Fuchs 2001), found that spring fertiliser application in 1990-1 significantly increased the use of grassland fields by pink-footed geese Anser brachyrynchus, until applications of approximately 80 kg N/ha (1990: average of 13-14 goose droppings/m2 with no application vs. 18-22 droppings/m2 with 40 kg N/ha, 28 droppings/m2 with 80 kg/m2 and 27-31 droppings/m2 with 120-160 kg N/ha; patterns in 1991 were similar but with fewer droppings). However, two slow-release fertilisers did not affect foraging densities in winter 1990-1992 (average of 24.5-26.7 droppings/m2 for fertilised vs. 24 droppings/m2 for control grasslands). Split fertiliser application did not increase field use, compared to a single application (average of 11 droppings/m2 for fields with split applications vs. 10 droppings/m2 for single applications), although the authors note it may reduce nitrogen leeching. 

 

Provide 'sacrificial' grasslands to reduce the impact of wild geese on crops Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1990-1993 at a reserve in Aberdeenshire, Scotland (Patterson & Fuchs 2001), found that spring fertilizer application in 1990-1991 significantly increased the use of grassland fields by pink-footed geese Anser brachyrynchus, until applications of approximately 80 kg N/ha (1990: average of 13-14 goose droppings/m2 with no application vs 18-22 droppings/m2 with 40 kg N/ha, 28 droppings/m2 with 80 kg/m2 and 27-31 droppings/m2 with 120-160 kg N/ha; patterns in 1991 were similar but with fewer droppings). However, two slow-release fertilizers did not affect foraging densities in winter 1990-1992 (average of 24.5-26.7 droppings/m2 for fertilized vs 24 droppings/m2 for control grasslands). Split fertilizer application did not increase field use, compared to a single application (average of 11 droppings/m2 for fields with split applications vs 10 droppings/m2 for single applications), although the authors note it may reduce nitrogen leaching.