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Population Dynamics of Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis Breeding in Svalbard, 1948-1976

Myrfyn Owen and Magnar Norderhaug
Ornis Scandinavica (Scandinavian Journal of Ornithology)
Vol. 8, No. 2 (Nov. 15, 1977), pp. 161-174
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3676101
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3676101
Page Count: 14
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Population Dynamics of Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis Breeding in Svalbard, 1948-1976
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Abstract

Numbers, breeding distribution, and dynamics of a closed goose population are analysed using data from 1948-1976, during which period the numbers have increased from about 300 to 7200. The birds now nest mainly on coastal islands and although the population has more than doubled since 1970 there has been little expansion of range. Mortality was high in the late sixties but decreased to an average of 10% in the 1970s. This, together with a slight improvement in breeding success, allowed numbers to increase. The weather in Svalbard is the main factor regulating recruitment, although winter conditions, in their effect on the ability of the geese to build-up body reserves, affect the population's breeding potential. Future population levels are discussed. It is predicted that the availability of nesting habitat will eventually limit recruitment and if it is limited to the present level that numbers are likely to stabilise at between 8000 and 12,000 birds.

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