, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 68–77 | Cite as

Comparing the Community Composition of European and Eastern Chinese Waterbirds and the Influence of Human Factors on the China Waterbird Community

  • Willem F. de Boer
  • Lei Cao
  • Mark Barter
  • Xin Wang
  • Mengmeng Sun
  • Herman van Oeveren
  • Jan de Leeuw
  • Jeb Barzen
  • Herbert H. T. Prins


We compared the European and eastern Chinese waterbird assemblages and checked whether the effects of human disturbance could be detected in the assemblages’ composition. For the different Chinese provinces, we expected to find a negative effect of economic development on the mean bird species mass and on the proportion of bentivorous, piscivorous and insectivorous bird species. We also expected to find relatively fewer large species in the Chinese assemblage. Species rank–abundance curves were relatively similar, but China had significantly more species with smaller body masses. The China assemblage was characterized by relatively higher abundance of heavy-bodied species, contrary to our expectations. Mean bird body mass decreased in China with increasing disturbance and increasing gross domestic product (GDP). For coastal provinces in China the percentage of bentivorous, piscivorous and insectivorous bird species declined with increasing GDP, maybe through the increased use of pesticides or fertilizer.


Anatidae GDP Disturbance Body mass Diet 



We thank Wetlands International, Alterra/Wageningen UR, and Toon Helmink for supplying the data of the European bird assemblages through the International Waterbird Census. We also thank Han Zhao Guo and Zuo Chen for their assistance during the Chinese surveys. Surveys in Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, and the Huai River floodplain, were supported by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Contract No. 70181-6-M440) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 30570253 and 30940010).


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Willem F. de Boer
    • 1
  • Lei Cao
    • 2
  • Mark Barter
    • 3
  • Xin Wang
    • 2
  • Mengmeng Sun
    • 2
  • Herman van Oeveren
    • 1
  • Jan de Leeuw
    • 4
  • Jeb Barzen
    • 5
  • Herbert H. T. Prins
    • 1
  1. 1.Resource Ecology GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Glen WaverleyAustralia
  4. 4.International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth ObservationEnschedeThe Netherlands
  5. 5.International Crane FoundationBarabooUSA

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