Factors affecting the distribution of geese in the British Isles

Myrfyn Owen


From examination of historical evidence and deduction from the present distribution and habits of British geese, an attempt is made to picture their distribution before deforestation A flow diagram is presented which indicates the relationships between the various factors affecting distribution. The major factors are the traditional diet of the species and the availability of habitat and foods. Independent variations in the condition and geographical position of the breeding grounds are important for some species. There seems no likelihood of imminent distributional shifts, but continuing increase in inland arable feeding in all British geese may result in competition between species if attachments to traditional areas break down. Conservation should strive to maintain populations on traditional habitats, as well as protecting the largest possible number of individuals.

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