The localized environmental degradation of protected areas adjacent to bird feeding stations: a case study of the Australian brush-turkey Alectura lathami

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Title The localized environmental degradation of protected areas adjacent to bird feeding stations: a case study of the Australian brush-turkey Alectura lathami
Author Warnken, Jan; Hodgkison, Simon; Wild, Clyde; Jones, Darryl
Journal Name Journal of Environmental Management
Editor A. Gill
Year Published 2004
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier Ltd
Abstract This study investigated the potential for wildlife feeding to artificially increase population densities of the Australian brush-turkey, Alectura lathami and assessed the indirect adverse effects that this may have on surrounding forest floor vegetation. Census counts and observations of feeding activity conducted in recreation areas of Australia's Gold Coast hinterland confirmed that brush-turkey population densities were significantly elevated by the provision of food by humans. Brush-turkey densities were high at sites where birds are actively fed, moderate at sites where birds feed opportunistically and low at sites where humans have negligible impact on local food availability. Brush-turkeys caused significant environmental impact at sites where their population densities have been substantially elevated by active feeding. Across all sites, increases in brush-turkey density were accompanied by a significant decline in ground cover, leaf litter weight, seed density and seedling density. Natural environmental variables such as gradient, vegetation type and canopy cover did not explain the observed impacts. The impacts were consistent with those described in trampling studies and suggest that at high density, even small animals can have significant trampling impacts on their local environment. This study demonstrates that wildlife feeding can have detrimental impacts on the integrity of local environments and recommends greater consideration of small animals and their potential indirect impacts when regulating wildlife feeding in National Parks and other nature conservation areas.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/622871/description#description
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2003.11.002
Volume 70
Issue Number 2
Page from 109
Page to 118
ISSN 0301-4797
Date Accessioned 2005-02-21
Date Available 2009-11-06T05:53:13Z
Language en_AU
Research Centre Australian Rivers Institute; Griffith Institute For Tourism; Environmental Futures Research Institute
Faculty Faculty of Environmental Sciences
Subject PRE2009-Environmental Management and Rehabilitation
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/5302
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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