Effects of released farmed mallards on species richness of breeding waterbirds and amphibians in natural, restored, and constructed wetlands

Dataset

Description

Common practices in current game management are wetland restoration and creation, as well as releases of quarry species. We studied the impact of releases of mallard ducklings on species richness of wild waterbirds and amphibians on three types of wetlands: natural, constructed and restored. Data on species richness, macrophyte cover and water characteristics (total phosphorous and pH) were collected at 32 sites in an agricultural landscape in southern Sweden. In total, 14 species of waterbirds were recorded, ranging from zero to seven per wetland and survey. Amphibians were present in 24 of the 32 wetlands; in total five species were found, ranging from zero to three per wetland. By using generalized linear modelling we found that wetland type best predicted waterbird species richness. Constructed wetlands had significantly more waterbird species, regardless of whether they were used for mallard releases or not. There were breeding amphibians in 62% of natural, 100% of restored and 77% of constructed wetlands. Breeding amphibians were present in 84% of wetlands without, and in 62% of wetlands with releases. However, included variables did not explain amphibian species richness in the wetlands. Releasing large numbers of mallards on a wetland and providing food ad libitum is likely to affect water quality, nutrient availability and predation pressure. Indeed, phosphorous levels were significantly higher in release wetlands, but no differences were found between wetland types.This means that mallard releases may increase nutrient loads in environments that are already eutrophied. However, in our study system releases did not influence species richness of waterbirds and amphibians locally. Constructing wetlands for mallard releases can thus have positive local effects on species richness.
Date made available2021-Sep-01
PublisherDryad
Date of data production2021
Geographical coverageSkåne, Scania

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