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Setback distances as a conservation tool in wildlife-human interactions : testing their efficacy for birds affected by vehicles on open-coast sandy beaches

Schlacher, Thomas A., Weston, Michael A., Lynn, David and Connolly, Rod M. 2013, Setback distances as a conservation tool in wildlife-human interactions : testing their efficacy for birds affected by vehicles on open-coast sandy beaches, PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 9, pp. 1-15.

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Title Setback distances as a conservation tool in wildlife-human interactions : testing their efficacy for birds affected by vehicles on open-coast sandy beaches
Author(s) Schlacher, Thomas A.
Weston, Michael A.
Lynn, David
Connolly, Rod M.
Journal name PLoS ONE
Volume number 8
Issue number 9
Start page 1
End page 15
Total pages 15
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2013
ISSN 1932-6203
Summary In some wilderness areas, wildlife encounter vehicles disrupt their behaviour and habitat use. Changing driver behaviour has been proposed where bans on vehicle use are politically unpalatable, but the efficacy of vehicle setbacks and reduced speeds remains largely untested. We characterised bird-vehicle encounters in terms of driver behaviour and the disturbance caused to birds, and tested whether spatial buffers or lower speeds reduced bird escape responses on open beaches. Focal observations showed that: i) most drivers did not create sizeable buffers between their vehicles and birds; ii) bird disturbance was frequent; and iii) predictors of probability of flushing (escape) were setback distance and vehicle type (buses flushed birds at higher rates than cars). Experiments demonstrated that substantial reductions in bird escape responses required buffers to be wide (> 25 m) and vehicle speeds to be slow (< 30 km h-1). Setback distances can reduce impacts on wildlife, provided that they are carefully designed and derived from empirical evidence. No speed or distance combination we tested, however, eliminated bird responses. Thus, while buffers reduce response rates, they are likely to be much less effective than vehicle-free zones (i.e. beach closures), and rely on changes to current driver behaviour
Language eng
Field of Research 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Socio Economic Objective 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Public Library of Science
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30057675

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.