Adaptive Flyway Management brandgans en grauwe gans

Migratory geese represent high intrinsic value. International management of their increasing populations is coordinated by the European Goose Management Platform (national authorities and NGO’s), through Adaptive Flyway Management Programs based on monitoring and modelling. Current research project develops population and impact models for Barnacle geese of the Russia-Netherlands/Germany flyway.

Unique international cooperation has been realized in the management of migratory goose populations in NW-Europe. A European Goose Management Platform (EGMP) has been established, under the umbrella of the UNEP AEWA treaty (Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds), with representatives of national authorities and NGO’s. For the Netherlands, the ministry of LNV and the provinces (BIJ12) are involved.

The EGMP formulates International Single Species Management Plans, ISSMP, and implements adaptive management at flyway level through Adaptive Flyway Management Programs (AFMP). Adaptive management is based on monitoring and modelling, using population and impact models. In an iterative, cyclic process, models are applied to evaluate population status, using the latest monitoring data. Evaluation may lead to improved models and adjusted management. Aim of AFMP is to ensure the favourable conservation status of the species, while allowing some offtake. Barnacle geese, a species not on annex II of the Birds Directive, may only be killed under derogation, to avoid agricultural damage or to decrease the risk of bird strikes at airports. Population models are required to evaluate the cumulative impact of derogation in different countries on population survival. When populations risk dropping below favourable reference values, coordination of offtake will be required among range states. Impact models are used to provide insight in the relation between numbers and impact, e.g., agricultural damage.

Insights obtained and tools and methods developed in this unique approach to sustainable management at flyway level, help the European Commission to develop guidance for management of similar species, that are both huntable and in need of protection.

The Netherlands, as an important country for (overwintering) geese, participates in EGMP and subsidizes research on Barnacle geese needed to develop and implement the AFMP for the Russia-Netherlands/Germany flyway population. The current project encompasses model development and monitoring needed to underpin and validate the models, over the period 2021-2024. The project is supervised by the working group AEWA, with representatives of Ministry of LNV, provinces, BIJ12 and FBE.