Exploring an efficient habitat index for predicting population and abundance of migratory birds in Poyang Lake Wetland, South China

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Poyang Lake wetland is an important wintering habitat of migratory birds with a complexity of coupled nature and human systems. Reported studies suggested that habitat indices were mostly developed based on single-class factors and scale-dependent. Therefore the indices might not be sufficient and applicable to predict regional changes for population and abundance of migratory birds (PMB and AMB) in Poyang Lake wetland at watershed and basin scales. In order to explore an efficient habitat index for predicting PMB and AMB, an integrated and scale-independent habitat index was proposed by integration of landscape and environmental temperature variables at basin and watershed scales. The landscape index and environmental temperature index based on single-class dominant factors, were also evaluated by weighted additive method. Multi-source data, including multispatial and temporal remote sensing images and field survey data, was used in this study. Results indicated that the average 10-night temperature in July (TN-Jul.) had dominant influence on PMB and the environmental temperature index was a better predictor for predicting PMB; AMB was influenced by both landscape and temperature variables and the proposed integrated habitat index was better for prediction of AMB in Poyang Lake wetland. The proposed integrated habitat index is a supplement of the single-class habitat index, which provides a more scientific technique for the study of biodiversity.

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Acta Ecologica Sinica