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Testing the delivery of conservation schemes for farmland birds at the farm-scale during winter, in Southern lowland England

Testing the delivery of conservation schemes for farmland birds at the farm-scale during winter, in Southern lowland England
Testing the delivery of conservation schemes for farmland birds at the farm-scale during winter, in Southern lowland England
Many farmland bird species across Europe have continued to show population declines since the 1970s, as a result of agricultural intensification. A large number of conservation schemes and initiatives have emerged from Government and the food industry sector to address this problem. Some farmland bird populations are limited by overwintering survival. This paper compares winter farmland bird abundance and species richness from differing conservation schemes, including: Entry Level Stewardship (ELS), Conservation Grade (CG) and Organic farm management scenarios. Winter bird surveys were tailored to the farm-scale, reflecting the proportions of infield habitat arrangements of nine case study farms. Organic farms provided significantly less infield habitat types across all schemes and were dominated by grassland habitat. Entry Level Stewardship and CG schemes had larger proportions of winter bird food provisions and increased habitat heterogeneity. The results show granivorous passerines to be significantly more abundant on CG farms compared to Organic. Moreover, yellowhammers (Emberiza citronella L.) are specialist seed-eaters that were significantly less abundant on Organic farms, compared to ELS and CG. There were no significant differences for insectivorous passerines between schemes. A positive relationship between number of infield habitats and species richness on farms was found, with Organic farms scoring the lowest species richness. These results demonstrate a proof-of-concept that farm-scale management can have positive farm-scale effects for birds; with increasing habitat heterogeneity and the presence of winter bird food provisions. Interestingly, Organic farms are shown not to provide significant benefits to overwintering birds. This paper suggests that the CG scheme provides the best framework for farmers to achieve sufficient infield habitat arrangements to better overwintering farmland birds
Harrison, Dominic
c01928c0-d491-4a8e-83c3-781f115eb932
Harrison, Dominic
c01928c0-d491-4a8e-83c3-781f115eb932
Shaw, Peter
935dfebf-9fb6-483c-86da-a21dba8c1989

Harrison, Dominic (2013) Testing the delivery of conservation schemes for farmland birds at the farm-scale during winter, in Southern lowland England. University of Southampton, Centre for Environmental Sciences, Masters Thesis, 32pp.

Record type: Thesis (Masters)

Abstract

Many farmland bird species across Europe have continued to show population declines since the 1970s, as a result of agricultural intensification. A large number of conservation schemes and initiatives have emerged from Government and the food industry sector to address this problem. Some farmland bird populations are limited by overwintering survival. This paper compares winter farmland bird abundance and species richness from differing conservation schemes, including: Entry Level Stewardship (ELS), Conservation Grade (CG) and Organic farm management scenarios. Winter bird surveys were tailored to the farm-scale, reflecting the proportions of infield habitat arrangements of nine case study farms. Organic farms provided significantly less infield habitat types across all schemes and were dominated by grassland habitat. Entry Level Stewardship and CG schemes had larger proportions of winter bird food provisions and increased habitat heterogeneity. The results show granivorous passerines to be significantly more abundant on CG farms compared to Organic. Moreover, yellowhammers (Emberiza citronella L.) are specialist seed-eaters that were significantly less abundant on Organic farms, compared to ELS and CG. There were no significant differences for insectivorous passerines between schemes. A positive relationship between number of infield habitats and species richness on farms was found, with Organic farms scoring the lowest species richness. These results demonstrate a proof-of-concept that farm-scale management can have positive farm-scale effects for birds; with increasing habitat heterogeneity and the presence of winter bird food provisions. Interestingly, Organic farms are shown not to provide significant benefits to overwintering birds. This paper suggests that the CG scheme provides the best framework for farmers to achieve sufficient infield habitat arrangements to better overwintering farmland birds

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Published date: May 2013
Organisations: University of Southampton, Civil Maritime & Env. Eng & Sci Unit

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 359819
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/359819
PURE UUID: 84bb5913-4c72-44f9-8df1-748879f53295

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Date deposited: 02 Dec 2013 09:07
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 03:17

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