Retraction of invasive Spartina alterniflora and its effect on the habitat loss of endangered migratory bird species and their decline in YNNR using remote sensing technology.
Wetland environment and habitat loss increase the rate of biodiversity decline and affect our ecosystems. Yancheng National Nature Reserve (YNNR) is a protected area dedicated to endangered migratory bird species to overwinter. However, it currently has a record low influx of migrating birds and might therefore be losing its founding purpose. We used remote sensing technology to assess and quantify the impacts and effects of invasive halophytes Spartina alterniflora in the habitat loss and shrinkage of endangered bird wintering habitat from 2003 to 2018. We also attempted to ascertain the causes and triggers of avian population decline and its relationship with habitat loss, as these phenomena threaten and endanger species both locally and globally. Our study shows how YNNR has lost about 80% of migratory bird habitat to invasive S. alterniflora and Phragmites australis, a native halophyte plant in the reserve. Furthermore, shoreline erosion triggered the retraction of S. alterniflora and its backward growth toward Suaeda Salsa, the preferred foraging habitat for migratory birds in the zone, which is a possible cause of their decline.