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Geese

Economic Importance Of Geese

Like other waterfowl, wild geese have long been hunted for subsistence purposes, and more recently for sport. In recent decades, North American hunters have killed about two million geese each year, although the bag has varied depending on the annual abundance of the birds. About 75% of the geese are typically killed in the United States, and the rest in Canada. Goose hunting is an economically important activity, generating direct and indirect cash flows through spending on travel, guns and other equipment, licenses, and fees paid to hunt on private lands.

Compared with the unregulated, open-access hunts of the past, which devastated populations of all waterfowl and other animals, hunting now appears to be relatively sustainable of the avian resource. Each year the federal governments of the United States and Canada cooperate in setting bag limits on the basis of estimates of the productivity of geese in the breeding habitats. The regulation of the direct kill of geese, coupled with the development of a network of protected areas of breeding, staging, and wintering habitat, appears to be effective in maintaining populations of the most abundant species of geese, while still allowing a large sport hunt.

Two species of goose have been domesticated. The most commonly raised species is derived from the greylag goose (Anser anser) of Eurasia. This goose has been domesticated for about 4,000 years, and there are a number of agricultural races, most of which are white. Another, less common, domesticated species is the swan goose (A. cygnoides).

Like ducks and other birds, geese have increasingly attracted the interest of bird-watching, also an activity of significant economic importance.

Geese are sometimes viewed as agricultural pests, because they may invade fields in large numbers during A Canada goose (Branta canadensis) with her goslings in the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio. Photograph by Robert J. Huffman. Field Mark Publications. Reproduced by permission. the autumn and spring, raiding unharvested crops or damaging fields of winter wheat (which is sown in the autumn to be harvested in the following summer) and some other crops. These damages can be severe in smaller areas, but can be managed by providing the geese with alternative foods, or by scaring them away.


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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Gastrula to Glow dischargeGeese - Geese Of North America, Economic Importance Of Geese, Factors Affecting The Abundance Of Geese, Status