We used GPS satellite tracking data and field measurements of vegetation to investigate the effect of food resources, distance to roosts, and the location of refuges on the distribution of Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis in the northern part of The Netherlands. To deal with spatial dependence among the data, a spatial lag model was used. A significant quadratic effect was found between sward height and goose distribution, indicating that geese prefer patches with intermediate sward heights. The manipulation of sward height can therefore be used to attract geese to refuges and thus reduce goose grazing in agricultural land. No relationship was found between grass nitrogen content and grazing intensity, indicating that geese do not distinguish between areas based on nitrogen content. A higher grazing intensity was observed in areas located within 2 km from roosts. The eight tracked geese spent 80% of their foraging time in refuges, demonstrating the importance of the refuge system.
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