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1 January 2015 Management decisions and knowledge gaps: learning by doing in a case of a declining population of slavonian grebe Podiceps auritus
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Species of national conservation concern require management action to reduce the threat of extinction. As part of its obligations to reduce national loss of biodiversity, the Norwegian authority for nature management (The Norwegian Environment Agency) published an action plan in 2010 for one of these species, the Slavonian grebe Podiceps auritus. The American mink Neovison vison, a non-native, invasive species with wide spread negative effects on native fauna, was highlighted as a major potential treat. We used an adaptive management approach that included management trials with the aim to assess whether mink predation is likely to be affecting grebe numbers significantly. We monitored mink activity, and put in place mink control measures at three of our seven study lakes. We then used 35 pairs of artificial nests, with one of each pair equipped with cameras, to measure predation at all seven lakes. The combined use of progressive experiments in an adaptive management/monitoring framework showed that mink activity was generally low with a mean activity at raft stations of between 0.41–1.22 per lake (n = 5), a range of zero to three excavations executed as a result of hunting (n = 3), and no incidences of mink nest predation (n = 35). Hence we conclude that mink is presently not likely to be a significant negative factor on grebe breeding success in the targeted lakes. We found a high nest predation rate by hooded crow with 18 of 21 identified predation events being identified to this species. Future effort should investigate non mink related threats to the Slavonian grebe such as the role of hooded crow in nest predation. This case study exemplifies the usefulness of the adaptive management/monitoring framework as a powerful means of testing hypotheses and to inform management, especially when knowledge of the focal system is poor.

© 2015 The Authors. This is an Open Access article
Jennifer Stien and Rolf A. Ims "Management decisions and knowledge gaps: learning by doing in a case of a declining population of slavonian grebe Podiceps auritus," Wildlife Biology 21(1), 44-50, (1 January 2015).
Accepted: 1 November 2014; Published: 1 January 2015

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