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Identifying factors that influence bird richness and abundance on farms

Zellweger-Fischer, Judith; Hoffmann, Jael; Korner-Nievergelt, Pius; Pfiffner, Lukas; Stoeckli, Sibylle and Birrer, Simon (2018) Identifying factors that influence bird richness and abundance on farms. Bird Study, Online.

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Online at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2018.1446903

Summary

Capsule: Farmers can influence species richness and abundance of typical farmland birds positively,
even on rather small farms (20–50 ha) within intensively farmed areas.
Aims: To assess the impact of farm settings, farm characteristics and heterogeneity of habitats on
bird species richness and abundance, and to indicate which actions and measures farmers can take
to promote farmland birds at a farm level.
Methods: Farmland bird species richness and abundance were modelled as a function of farm
settings, farm characteristics and semi-natural habitats on 133 farms. The data were analysed at
the farm scale, as this is the ‘operating range’ of a farmer, but also at the territory scale, which
represents the range birds (mainly passerines) use during the breeding season. Additionally,
effects of the farm variables on species abundance/occurrence were investigated for nine
widespread species.
Results: Farmland bird species abundance (but not richness) was elevated on organic compared to
non-organic farms. Farmland bird species richness and abundance increased with decreasing mean
field size. Crop diversity had positive effects on five species at the territory scale. Several seminatural
habitats, especially hedgerows, were associated with higher bird species richness and
abundance at both farm and territory scales. Settlement revealed rather negative effects at the
farm scale, but several positive relations at the territory scale.
Conclusion: Birds, especially passerines, are restricted to a small area during the breeding season,
and so even small farms can contribute to their protection by growing diverse crops, reducing field
size and managing a diversity of semi-natural, uncropped habitats. These measures should ideally
be accessible within the relatively small scale of a bird territory.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Environmental aspects > Landscape and recreation
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Entomolgy
DOI:10.1080/00063657.2018.1446903
Deposited By: Stöckli, Dr. Sibylle
ID Code:32996
Deposited On:16 Jul 2018 15:27
Last Modified:16 Jul 2018 15:30
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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