Identifying rice fields at risk from damage by the greater flamingo.
Since the early 1980s, greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus) have been reported to cause damage to the rice fields of the Camargue, southeastern France. We tested whether some rice fields had landscape features that were more attractive to flamingos than others, using data from the period 1993-97 and from 1978 different paddies. Discriminant function analysis, logistic regression (LR) and artificial neural networks were used to identify the environmental variables best explaining flamingo incursions. The most accurate models (LR) gave 75% prediction success and used as predictors the surface area of rice fields, the presence of contiguous damaged fields, the presence of wooded margins and the distance to natural marshes. Our study suggests that it is possible to identify accurately fields at risk from damage in order to concentrate scaring methods. We also suggest that planting hedges should be promoted, and wood cutting discouraged, in high-risk areas. Following our study, a programme of planting of hedges by the Natural Regional Park of the Camargue started at the beginning of 2000. Our work reveals how presence-absence modelling can have clear applications in managing important species that sometimes cause negative impacts locally.