Aquatic Warbler project - An introduction to aquatic warbler conservation in Western Pomerania
The Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) is a globally threatened bird species. Around 1900, it was one of the most widespread birds in Central-European fen mires. The population severely decreased as a consequence of wetland drainage. Distinct genetic differences to all other known populations suggest that the remaining birds in Western Pomerania are the last survivors of a separated, presumably large Central European population. Its conservation has high priority, but it is hampered by insufficient knowledge on habitat requirements of the species in Western Pomerania. Additional threats emerge from conflicting land use interests. The coastal sites of the West-Pomeranian population are located around Szczecin bay and consist predominantly of Phragmites australis reeds. The sites in Lower Odra valley are situated on both sides of Odra river and have a mixed vegetation of sedges and grasses with Carex gracilis and Phalaris arundinacea dominating. All current breeding sites in Western Pomerania are being mown. First results of a comparison between sites currently used by Aquatic Warbler and sites recently abandoned show that the latter have a lower water level and a thicker litter layer. A PhD study on Aquatic Warbler habitat requirements and habitat restoration potential in Western Pomerania has recently started. A joint Polish-German EU-LIFE project targeting Aquatic Warbler conservation in Western Pomerania is planned.
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