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Underground cabling and marking of power lines: conservation measures rapidly reduced mortality of West-Pannonian Great Bustards Otis tarda

  • RAINER RAAB (a1), CLAUDIA SCHÜTZ (a1), PÉTER SPAKOVSZKY (a2), EIKE JULIUS (a1) and CHRISTIAN H. SCHULZE (a3)...
Summary

Collisions with power lines represent an important mortality factor for Great Bustards Otis tarda throughout the distribution range of the species. This study evaluates the success of two conservation measures implemented in the West-Pannonian distribution range to reduce the number of power line collision casualties: (1) extensive underground cabling of 43.1 km power lines, and (2) marking of 89.7 km power lines starting in 2005 and 2006, respectively. The mortality rate of Great Bustards in our study area (covering 686.5 km2) decreased significantly between 2002 and 2011, predominantly caused by reduced mortality due to power line collisions. Univariate tests indicate that underground cabling and power line marking significantly decreased power line collision casualties. Generalised linear models (GLMs) highlighted the prominent effect of underground cabling. Our results indicate that five years after underground cabling and marking of power lines within core areas of the West-Pannonian distribution range of the Great Bustard, the population already benefited through a significantly decreased mortality rate. Both conservation measures most likely contributed strongly to the rapid recovery of the West-Pannonian Great Bustard population observed within the last decade.

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Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence; e-mail: rainer.raab@gmx.at
References
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Bird Conservation International
  • ISSN: 0959-2709
  • EISSN: 1474-0001
  • URL: /core/journals/bird-conservation-international
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