Linking waterfowl distribution and abundance to spatial and temporal distribution and abundance of wetland habitat
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Wetlands are dynamic ecosystems providing immense value to wildlife and humans. Wetlands store and purify water, recharge aquifers and reduce extreme flooding events (Acharya 2000). Wetlands also reduce soil erosion, decrease sediment loads, and sequester and transform nutrient runoff in agricultural areas and the surrounding landscape (Mitsch and James 2000, Woodward and Wui 2000). Wetlands provide essential resources for many biota and because of unique selective pressures, are home to numerous plant and animal species that rely on wetland ecosystems to persist (Brinson 1993, Gibbs 1993, Schweiger et al. 2002). For example, wetlands are important to many waterbird species for completing the annual cycle by providing foraging habitat in mid-latitude states to facilitate energy accumulation to over-winter or complete migration (Anderson and Smith 1991, Ma et al. 2009, Hagy and Kaminsky 2012). Specifically, dabbling ducks meet their autumn and winter food energy requirements through foraging in inundated wetlands and agricultural fields throughout their migratory range (Gruenhagen and Fredrickson 1990, Gibbs 2000, Checket et al. 2002, Brasher et al. 2006, Hagy and Kaminsky 2012).
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