Deakin University

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Do temporary beach closures assist in the conservation of breeding shorebirds on recreational beaches?

journal contribution
posted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by Mike WestonMike Weston, F Dodge, Ashley Bunce, Dale Nimmo, Kelly MillerKelly Miller
Recreational use of beaches may threaten some beach-nesting shorebirds in southern Australia. Temporary Beach Closures, comprized of a 50 x 25 m exclusion zone around a shorebird nest, represent a promising technique for altering human behaviour by reducing both disturbance to birds and inadvertent crushing of eggs by beach visitors. We assessed whether three commonly employed configurations of Temporary Beach Closures (sign, fence, and warden) were effective at: (1) achieving compliance among beach visitors, and (2) reducing egg-crushing rates. Overall, 93.7% of beach visitors complied with all Temporary Beach Closures, resulting in a reduction in egg-crushing rates within, as opposed to adjacent to, Temporary Beach Closures. Levels of compliance were high in all Temporary Beach Closure configurations (88.0-99.4%), and similar levels of compliance were achieved within the three configurations. Human compliance was highest for females and when the density of beach-users was higher, while individuals aged <20 and >61 years were less likely to comply with Temporary Beach Closures. Despite an increased probability of compliance on high density beaches, this did not translate into a reduction in egg crushing rates on such beaches, because the overall number of noncompliant individuals remained higher. We conclude any Temporary Beach Closure configuration is meritorious, and that their use on high and low-use recreational beaches will benefit breeding shorebirds by reducing the rate of egg-crushing. Targeting demographics that display lower levels of compliance, such as men, young people (i.e. <21), and older people (i.e. >60), may further improve the effectiveness of Temporary Beach Closures in enhancing the conservation of shorebirds.



Pacific conservation biology






47 - 55


Surrey Beatty & Sons


Baulkham Hills, N. S. W.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012, Surrey Beatty & Sons

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