Scaring as a tool to alleviate crop damage by geese: Revealing differences between farmers’ perceptions and the scale of the problem
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAmbio. 2017, 46 (Suppl. 2), S319-S327. 10.1007/s13280-016-0891-5
Expanding populations of farmland foraging geese are causing escalating conflict with agriculture. We used questionnaires to investigate farmers´ perceptions in mid-Norway of spring staging geese and the extent to which they attempt to reduce pasture damage by goose scaring. We predicted farmers’ scaring effort (a measure of dissatisfaction) to increase on fields closer to goose roosting sites where goose grazing intensity was highest (measured by dropping counts). Results showed no such relationship, suggesting that farmers’ perception of goose use was not linked to actual goose use, but influenced by sociological factors and individual opinion. These results confirm the need to distribute subsidies/compensation to affected farmers based upon quantifiable measures of goose use rather than complaint levels. To avoid further conflict escalation, it is equally important that managers are aware of farmers´ perceptions and their causes, to effectively target communication about policies and measures to mitigate goose–agriculture problems.