Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Reclamation of tidal flats and shorebird declines in Saemangeum and elsewhere in the Republic of Korea

Nial Moores A , Danny I. Rogers B F , Ken Rogers C and Philip M. Hansbro D E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Birds Korea, 1010 Samik Tower 3-Dong, Namcheon 2-Dong, Su Yeong-Gu, Busan 613-762, Republic of Korea.

B Arthur Rylah Institute of Environmental Research, PO Box 137, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.

C 340 Ninks Road, St Andrews, Vic. 3761, Australia.

D School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy & Priority Research Centre for Healthy Lungs, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

E Vaccines, Infection/Immunity, Viruses and Asthma Group, Hunger Medical Research Institute, Lot 1, Kookaburra Circuit, New Lambton Heights, NSW 2305, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: drogers@melbpc.org.au

Emu 116(2) 136-146 https://doi.org/10.1071/MU16006
Submitted: 15 January 2016  Accepted: 1 March 2016   Published: 28 April 2016

Abstract

Saemangeum, in the Republic of Korea (ROK, commonly called South Korea) was one of the most important shorebird staging sites in the Yellow Sea. It supported at least 330000 shorebirds annually between 1997 and 2001, including ~30% of the world population of Great Knots (Calidris tenuirostris) during both northward and southward migration. Construction of a 33-km long sea-wall was completed in April 2006. We show that shorebird numbers at Saemangeum and two adjacent wetlands decreased by 130000 during northward migration in the next two years and that all species have declined at Saemangeum since completion of the sea-wall. Great Knots were among the most rapidly affected species. Fewer than 5000 shorebirds were recorded at Saemangeum during northward migration in 2014. We found no evidence to suggest that most shorebirds of any species displaced from Saemangeum successfully relocated to other sites in the ROK. Instead, by 2011–13 nearly all species had declined substantially in the ROK since previous national surveys in 1998 and 2008, especially at more heavily reclaimed sites. It is likely that these declines were driven by increased mortality rather than movement to alternate staging sites given that other studies have shown concurrent declines in numbers and survival on the non-breeding grounds. This is the first study in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway to confirm declines of shorebirds at a range of geographical scales following a single reclamation project. The results indicate that if migratory shorebirds are displaced from major staging sites by reclamation they are probably unable to relocate successfully to alternate sites.

Additional keywords: East Asian–Australasian Flyway, Great Knot, migration, South Korea, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Yellow Sea.


References

Amano, T., Székely, T., Koyama, K., Amano, H., and Sutherland, W. (2010). A framework for monitoring the status of populations: an example from wader populations in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway. Biological Conservation 143, 2238–2247.
A framework for monitoring the status of populations: an example from wader populations in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway.CrossRef |

Barter, M. (2002). Shorebirds of the Yellow Sea: importance, threats and conservation status. Wetlands International Global Series 9 and International Wader Studies 12, Canberra, Australia.

Battley, P. F., Warnock, N., Tibbitts, T. L., Gill, R. E., Piersma, T., Hassell, C. J., Douglas, D. C., Mulcahy, D. M., Gartrell, B. D., and Schuckard, R. (2012). Contrasting extreme long-distance migration patterns in Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica. Journal of Avian Biology 43, 21–32.
Contrasting extreme long-distance migration patterns in Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica.CrossRef |

Bird, J. P., Lees, A. C., Chowdhury, S. U., Martin, R., and Haque, E. U. (2010). A survey of the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorynchus pygmeus in Bangladesh and key future research and conservation recommendations. Forktail 26, 1–8.

BirdLife International (2016a). Calidris tenuirostris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. Available at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22693359/0 [Verified 10 March 2016].

BirdLife International (2016b). Calidris pygmaea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. Available at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22693452/0 [Verified 10 March 2016].

Birds Korea (2010). The Birds Korea blueprint 2010 for the conservation of the avian biodiversity of the South Korean part of the Yellow Sea. Birds Korea, Busan, Republic of Korea.

Burton, N., Rehfisch, M., Clark, N., and Dodd, S. (2006). Impacts of sudden winter habitat loss on the body condition and survival of Redshank Tringa totanus. Journal of Applied Ecology 43, 464–473.
Impacts of sudden winter habitat loss on the body condition and survival of Redshank Tringa totanus.CrossRef |

Choi, C.-Y., Battley, P. F., Potter, M. A., Rogers, K. G., and Ma, Z. J. (2015). The importance of Yalu Jiang coastal wetland in the north Yellow Sea to Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica and Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris during northward migration. Bird Conservation International 25, 53–70.
The importance of Yalu Jiang coastal wetland in the north Yellow Sea to Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica and Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris during northward migration.CrossRef |

Clemens, R. S., Rogers, D. I., Hansen, B. D., Gosbell, K., Minton, C., Straw, P., Bamford, M., Woehler, E. J., Milton, D., Weston, M. A., Venables, B., Weller, D., Hassell, C. J., Rutherford, B., Onton, K., Herrod, A., Studds, C. E., Choi, C.-Y., Dhanjal-Adams, K., Skilleter, G., and Fuller, R. A. (2016). Continental-scale decreases in shorebird populations in Australia. Emu 116, 119–135.
Continental-scale decreases in shorebird populations in Australia.CrossRef |

Conklin, J. R., Verkuil, Y. I., and Smith, B. D. (2014). Prioritizing migratory shorebirds for conservation action on the East Asian–Australasian Flyway. WWF-Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Conklin, J. R., Lok, T., Melville, D. S., Riegen, A., Schuckard, R., Piersma, T., and Battley, P. (2016). Declining adult survival of New Zealand Bar-tailed Godwits during 2005–2012 despite apparent population stability. Emu 116, 147–157.
Declining adult survival of New Zealand Bar-tailed Godwits during 2005–2012 despite apparent population stability.CrossRef |

Convention on Biological Diversity (2016). List of parties. Available at https://www.cbd.int/information/parties.shtml [Verified 10 March 2016].

Driscoll, P. V., and Ueta, M. (2002). The migration route and behaviour of Eastern Curlews Numenius madagascariensis. Ibis 144, E119–E130.
The migration route and behaviour of Eastern Curlews Numenius madagascariensis.CrossRef |

Hanawa, S. (1985). Results of the nationwide counts of waders in Japan. Annual changes in the species and numbers of waders (1973–1985). Strix 4, 76–87.

Hong, J.-S., Yamashita, H., and Sato, S. (2007). The Saemangeum Reclamation Project in South Korea threatens to extinguish an unique mollusk, ectosymbiotic bivalve species attached to the shell of Lingula anatina. Plankton and Benthos Research 2, 70–75.
The Saemangeum Reclamation Project in South Korea threatens to extinguish an unique mollusk, ectosymbiotic bivalve species attached to the shell of Lingula anatina.CrossRef |

KARICO (2003). Habitats and shelters for migratory birds. Research report, November 2003. Korea Agriculture and Rural Infrastructure Corporation. [In Korean]

KARICO (2004). Habitats and shelters for migratory birds. Research report, December 2004. Korea Agriculture and Rural Infrastructure Corporation. [In Korean]

KARICO (2005). Habitats and shelters for migratory birds. Research report, November 2011. Korea Agriculture and Rural Infrastructure Corporation. [In Korean]

Long, A., Poole, C., Eldridge, M., Won, P.-O., and Lee, K.-S. (1988). A survey of coastal wetlands and shorebirds in South Korea, Spring 1988. Asian Wetland Bureau, Kuala Lumpur.

Ma, Z., Melville, D. S., Lui, J., Chen, Y., Yang, H., Ren, W., Zhang, Z., Piersma, T., and Li, B. (2014). Rethinking China’s new great wall. Science 346, 912–914.
| 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC2cXitVGksLjJ&md5=ff5275b11d758a245ac641fe4961c5e3CAS | 25414287PubMed |

MacKinnon, J., Verkuil, Y. I., and Murray, N. (2012). IUCN situation analysis on East and Southeast Asian intertidal habitats, with particular reference to the Yellow Sea (including the Bohai Sea). IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Melville, D. S., Chen, Y., and Ma, Z. (2016). Shorebirds along the Yellow Sea coast of China face an uncertain future – a review of threats. Emu 116, 100–110.
Shorebirds along the Yellow Sea coast of China face an uncertain future – a review of threats.CrossRef |

Minton, C., Dann, P., Ewing, A., Taylor, S., Jessop, R., Anton, P., and Clemens, R. (2012). Trends of shorebirds in Corner Inlet, Victoria, 1982–2011. Stilt 61, 3–18.

Minton, C., Gosbell, K., Johns, P., Christie, M., Klaassen, M., Hassell, C., Boyle, A., Jessop, R., and Fox, J. (2013). New insights from geolocators deployed on waders in Australia. Wader Study Group Bulletin 120, 34–46.

Moores, N. (1999). Korean Wetlands Alliance national NGO wetlands report: Ramsar 1999. Yullinmaul, Seoul.

Moores, N. (2003). The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Defence of the Saemangeum reclamation: credible science or wishful thinking? Independent report. Birds Korea, Busan, Republic of Korea. Available at http://www.birdskorea.org/Habitats/Wetlands/Saemangeum/BK-HA-Saemangeum-MAFrebuttal.shtml [Verified 10 March 2016].

Moores, N. (2006). South Korea’s shorebirds: a review of abundance, distribution, threats and conservation status. Stilt 50, 62–72.

Moores, N. (2012). The distribution, abundance and conservation of avian biodiversity in Yellow Sea habitats in the Republic of Korea. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.

Moores, N. (in press). Saemangeum estuarine system (Republic of Korea): before and after reclamation. In ‘The Wetland Book: Distribution, Description and Conservation’. (Ed. C. M. Finlayson, N. Davidson, G. R. Milton, C. Prentice.) (Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands.)

Moores, N., Rogers, D., Kim R-H, Hassel, C., Gosbell, K., Kim S-A and Park M-N. (2008). The 2006–2008 Saemangeum shorebird monitoring program report. Birds Korea, Busan, Republic of Korea.

Moores, N., Kim, A. and Kim, R. (2014). Status of birds, 2014. Birds Korea report on bird population trends and conservation status in the Republic of Korea. Birds Korea, Busan, Republic of Korea.

Murray, N., Clemens, R., Phinn, S., Possingham, H., and Fuller, R. (2014). Tracking the rapid loss of tidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12, 267–272.
Tracking the rapid loss of tidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea.CrossRef |

Piersma, T., Zwarts, L., and Bruggemann, J. H. (1990). Behavioral aspects of the departure of waders before long-distance flights – flocking, vocalizations, flight paths and diurnal timing. Ardea 78, 157–184.

Piersma, T., Lok, T., Chen, Y., Hassell, C., Yang, H.-Y., Boyle, A., Slaymaker, M., Chan, Y.-C., Melville, D., Zhang, Z.-Q., and Ma, Z. (2016). Simultaneous declines in summer survival of three shorebird species signals a flyway at risk. Journal of Applied Ecology 53, 479–490.
Simultaneous declines in summer survival of three shorebird species signals a flyway at risk.CrossRef |

Ramsar Convention Secretariat (2013). ‘The Ramsar Convention Manual: a Guide to the Convention on Wetlands (Wamsar, Iran, 1971)’, 6th edn. (Ramsar Convention Secretariat: Gland, Switzerland.)

Ramsar (2016). Country profiles. Available at http://www.ramsar.org/country-profiles [Verified 10 March 2016].

Republic of Korea (ROK) (2009). Fourth national report to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Available at https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/kr/kr-nr-04-en.pdf [Verified 10 March 2016].

Republic of Korea (ROK) (2014). Fifth national report to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Available at https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/kr/kr-nr-05-en.pdf [Verified 10 March 2016].

Riegen, A. C., Vaughan, G. R., and Rogers, K. D. (2014). Yalu Jiang Estuary shorebird survey report 1999–2010. Yalu Jiang Estuary Wetland National Nature Reserve, Donggang, China and Miranda Naturalists’ Trust, Miranda, New Zealand.

Rio Declaration on Environment and Development 1992 Annex 1 to the Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Available at http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-1annex1.htm [Verified 10 March 2016].

Rogers, D. I., Moores, N., and Battley, P. (2006). Northwards migration of shorebirds through Saemangeum, the Geum Estuary and Gomso Bay, South Korea in 2006. Stilt 50, 73–89.

Rogers, D. I., Hassell, C. J., Oldland, J., Clemens, R., Boyle, A., and Rogers, K. G. (2009). Monitoring Yellow Sea migrants in Australia (MYSMA): north-western Australian shorebird surveys and workshops, December 2008. Report to Department of the Environment, Heritage, Water Heritage and the Arts. Birds Australia, Melbourne.

Rogers, D. I., Yang, H. Y., Hassell, C. J., Boyle, A. N., Rogers, K. G., Chen, B., Zhang, Z. W., and Piersma, T. (2010). Red Knots (Calidris canutus piersmai and C. c. rogersi) depend on a small threatened staging area in Bohai Bay, China. Emu 110, 307–315.
Red Knots (Calidris canutus piersmai and C. c. rogersi) depend on a small threatened staging area in Bohai Bay, China.CrossRef |

Ryu, J., Nam, J., Park, J., Kwon, B.-O., Lee, J.-H., Song, S. J., Hong, S., Chang, W. K., and Khim, J. S. (2014). The Saemangeum tidal flat: long-term environmental and ecological changes in marine benthic flora and fauna in relation to the embankment. Ocean and Coastal Management 102, 559–571.
The Saemangeum tidal flat: long-term environmental and ecological changes in marine benthic flora and fauna in relation to the embankment.CrossRef |

Shorebird Network Korea (2013). Shorebird population count report of Korea (2011–2012). Shorebird Network Korea Secretariat, Shinan County, Republic of Korea. [In Korean]

Shorebird Network Korea (2014). Shorebird population count report of Korea (2013). Shorebird Network Korea Secretariat, Shinan County, Republic of Korea. [In Korean]

Shorebird Network Korea (2016). Shorebird population count report of Korea (2014). Shorebird Network Korea Secretariat, Shinan County, Republic of Korea. [In Korean]

Tomkovich, P. (1997). Breeding distribution, migrations and conservation status of the Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris in Russia. Emu 97, 265–282.
Breeding distribution, migrations and conservation status of the Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris in Russia.CrossRef |

Tulp, I., and de Goeij, P. (1994). Evaluating wader habitats in Roebuck Bay (north-western Australia) as a springboard for northbound migration in waders, with a focus on Great Knots Emu 94, 78–95.
Evaluating wader habitats in Roebuck Bay (north-western Australia) as a springboard for northbound migration in waders, with a focus on Great KnotsCrossRef |

United Nations (2015) A/RES/70/1 – Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E [Verified 10 March 2016].

Wetlands International (2006). Waterbird population estimates. 4th Edn. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Wilson, H., Kendall, B., Fuller, R., Milton, D., and Possingham, H. (2011). Analyzing variability and the rate of decline of migratory shorebirds in Moreton Bay, Australia. Conservation Biology 25, 758–766.
Analyzing variability and the rate of decline of migratory shorebirds in Moreton Bay, Australia.CrossRef | 21480993PubMed |

Yang, H. Y., Chen, B., Barter, M., Piersma, T., Zhou, C.-F., Li, F.-S., and Zhang, Z.-W. (2011). Impacts of tidal land reclamation in Bohai Bay, China: ongoing losses of critical Yellow Sea waterbird staging and wintering sites. Bird Conservation International 21, 241–259.
Impacts of tidal land reclamation in Bohai Bay, China: ongoing losses of critical Yellow Sea waterbird staging and wintering sites.CrossRef |

Yi, J.-Y. (2004). Status and habitat characteristics of migratory shorebirds in Korea. In ‘Proceedings of the 2004 International Symposium on Migratory Birds, Gunsan, Korea’. pp. 87–103. (Ornithological Society of Korea: Seoul, Republic of Korea). [In Korean]

Zöckler, C., Syroechkovskiy, E., and Bunting, G. (2010). International single species action plan for the conservation of Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorynchus pygmeus). CMS Technical Report Series 23, BirdLife International (Asia Division, Tokyo, Japan) and the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn, Germany).


Export Citation

View Altmetrics