Changes in habitats & population dynamics for wetland birds in Dongting Lake, Central Yangtze

Zhao Shuqing

Project Dongting Lake '2001 will assess the conservation status of threatened and endemic bird species in this area, and provide a preliminary proposal on how to preserve the threatened habitats and bird species based on a sustainable land use. Preliminary field work showed that it is necessary to know bird species present and their population sizes, then to understand many habitat parameters (e.g. plant diversity and structure, ideally plant and animal food diversity, and water characteristics), and habitat dynamics that have been correlated with the presence or abundance of bird species (Bookout, 1994; Schemnitz, 1980).In cooperation with local governments, this project will develop a practical GIS-based wetland management information system, which can greatly facilitate and improve their management capacity. This project will make a contribution to conservation in this area; the major results are expected as follows: to provide maps of wetland bird habitats and bird distribution; to clarify changes in wetland landscape in recent 20-30 years; to analyse the relationship between the changes in bird species and their populations and human activities; to give a vision to indicate sustainable land use for preserving the threatened habitats and bird species. In addition, a full report and an assessment report to the local governments, which show how to preserve this unique wetland area, and 2-3 scientific papers will be published within the project's return.