The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Distance to edges, edge contrast and landscape fragmentation: Interactions affecting farmland birds around forest plantations

Reino, Luis, Beja, Pedro, Osborne, P.E., Morgado, Rui, Fabião, António and Rotenberry, John (2009) Distance to edges, edge contrast and landscape fragmentation: Interactions affecting farmland birds around forest plantations Biological Conservation, 142, (4), pp. 824-838. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2008.12.011).

Record type: Article


Afforestation often causes direct habitat losses for farmland birds of conservation concern, but it is uncertain whether negative effects also extend significantly into adjacent open land. Information is thus required on how these species react to wooded edges, and how their responses are affected by edge and landscape characteristics.
These issues were examined in Mediterranean arable farmland, using bird counts at 0, 100, 200, 300 and >300 m from oak, pine and eucalyptus edges, embedded in landscapes with variable amounts and spatial configurations of forest plantations. Bird diversity declined away from edges, including that of woodland, farmland and ground-nesting birds. Positive edge responses were also found for overall and woodland bird abundances, and for five of the nine most widespread and abundant species (Galerida larks, stonechat, linnet, goldfinch and corn bunting). Strong negative edge effects were only recorded for steppe birds, with reduced abundances near edges of calandra larks and short-toed larks, but not of little bustards and tawny pipits.
Edge contrast affected the magnitude of edge effects, with a tendency for stronger responses to old and tall eucalyptus plantations (hard edges) than to young and short oak plantations (soft edges). There were also species-specific interactions between edge and fragmentation effects, with positive edge responses tending to be strongest in less fragmented landscapes, whereas steppe birds tended to increase faster away from edges and to reach the highest species richness and abundances in large arable patches.
Results suggest that forest plantations may increase overall bird diversity and abundance in adjacent farmland, at the expenses of steppe birds of conservation concern. Clustering forest plantations in a few large patches and thus reducing the density of wooded edges at the landscape-scale might reduce such negative impacts.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 2009
Keywords: afforestation, edge effects, landscape management, grassland, mediterranean farmland, steppe birds
Organisations: Civil Engineering & the Environment


Local EPrints ID: 74630
ISSN: 0006-3207
PURE UUID: 93b2fdf9-6fac-4586-96da-0f60d3a770b5

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:45

Export record



Author: Luis Reino
Author: Pedro Beja
Author: P.E. Osborne
Author: Rui Morgado
Author: António Fabião
Author: John Rotenberry

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.