Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Data from: Landscape context and farm uptake limit effects of bird conservation in the Swedish Volunteer & Farmer Alliance
    Josefsson, Jonas ; Pärt, Tomas ; Berg, Åke ; Lokhorst, A.M. ; Eggers, Sönke - \ 2018
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
    agri-environment schemes - collaborative conservation - farmland birds - landscape composition - unsibsidised conservation - farmers - organic farming - biodiversity - AES - BACI
    In Europe, agri-environmental schemes (AES) have been unsuccessful in halting biodiversity declines to any great extent. Two particular shortcomings of AES include the low farm uptake and the modest efficacy of many AES options. Partly in response to these shortcomings, initiatives encouraging farmers to take an active role in biodiversity conservation have gained in popularity. However, almost no evaluations of such initiatives exist. 2. We evaluated uptake of conservation advice on farms in the Swedish Volunteer & Farmer Alliance, a BirdLife Sweden-coordinated project aimed at farmland bird conservation, and the response of farmland birds to those actions using farm-level survey data, in a before-after implementation assessment. 3. Uptake was higher for unsubsidised (i.e. non-AES) measures than for AES options, and depended on farmers’ interest in nature, farm size (higher uptake on larger farms) and production type (higher on organic farms). 4. In general, abundances of non-crop nesting and field-nesting bird species declined between inventory years (median interval 3 years). Decreases were more marked in agriculturally marginal regions than in more arable-dominated regions, and declines were stronger on organic than conventional farms. 5. Negative abundance trends among non-crop nesting species were reduced by an increasing number of conservation measures at the farm, but only in the more arable-dominated landscapes. Changes in other non-crop species and in field-nesting species did not significantly relate to implemented measures, but the power to detect such effects was generally small due to the small sample size of high-uptake farms as well as high inter-farm variability. 6. Implications: Our results suggest that Volunteer Farmer Alliances and the addition of unsubsidised measures may be successful in changing the local number of non-crop nesting farmland birds at the farm level, and especially so in intensively managed agricultural landscapes. Thus, unsubsidised measures can be a useful addition to the set of agri-environment tools, although their effects on breeding bird numbers are (as with AES) dependent on landscape context, as well as on ensuring high on-farm uptake of different interventions.
    Landscape context and farm uptake limit effects of bird conservation in the Swedish Volunteer & Farmer Alliance
    Josefsson, Jonas ; Pärt, Tomas ; Berg, Åke ; Lokhorst, Anne Marike ; Eggers, Sönke - \ 2018
    Journal of Applied Ecology 55 (2018)6. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 2719 - 2730.
    agri-environmental schemes - biodiversity - collaborative conservation - farmers - farmland birds - landscape composition - organic farming - unsubsidised conservation

    In Europe, agri-environmental schemes (AES) have been unsuccessful in halting biodiversity declines to any great extent. Two shortcomings of AES include the low farm uptake and the modest efficacy of many AES options. Partly in response to these shortcomings, initiatives encouraging farmers to take an active role in biodiversity conservation have gained in popularity. However, almost no evaluations of such initiatives exist. We evaluated uptake of conservation advice on farms in the Swedish Volunteer & Farmer Alliance, a BirdLife Sweden-coordinated project aimed at farmland bird conservation, and the response of farmland birds to those actions using farm-level survey data, in a before-after implementation assessment. Uptake was higher for unsubsidised (i.e. non-AES) measures than for AES options, and depended mainly on farmers’ interest in nature, with farm size and production type having less importance. In general, abundances of non-crop nesting and field-nesting bird species declined between inventory years (median interval 3 years). Decreases were more marked in agriculturally marginal regions than in more arable-dominated regions, and declines were stronger on organic than on conventional farms. Negative abundance trends among non-crop nesting species were reduced by an increasing number of conservation measures at the farm, but only in the more arable-dominated landscapes. Changes in field-nesting species, or at species level, did not significantly relate to implemented measures, but the power to detect such effects was generally small due to the small sample size of high-uptake farms as well as high inter-farm variability. Synthesis and applications. Our results suggest that volunteer farmer alliances and the addition of unsubsidised measures may be successful in changing the local number of non-crop nesting farmland birds, at the farm level, particularly in intensively managed agricultural landscapes. Thus, unsubsidised measures can be a useful addition to the set of agri-environment tools, although their effects on breeding bird numbers are (as with agri-environmental schemes) dependent on landscape context, as well as on ensuring high on-farm uptake of different interventions.

    The role of agri-environment schemes in conservation and environmental management
    Batary, P. ; Dicks, L.V. ; Kleijn, D. ; Sutherland, W.J. - \ 2015
    Conservation Biology 29 (2015)4. - ISSN 0888-8892 - p. 1006 - 1016.
    land-use intensity - ecosystem services - agricultural landscapes - farmland birds - biodiversity - metaanalysis - europe - benefits - intensification - pollinators
    Over half of the European landscape is under agricultural management and has been for millennia. Many species and ecosystems of conservation concern in Europe depend on agricultural management and are showing ongoing declines. Agri-environment schemes (AES) are designed partly to address this. They are a major source of nature conservation funding within the European Union (EU) and the highest conservation expenditure in Europe. We reviewed the structure of current AES across Europe. Since a 2003 review questioned the overall effectiveness of AES for biodiversity, there has been a plethora of case studies and meta-analyses examining their effectiveness. Most syntheses demonstrate general increases in farmland biodiversity in response to AES, with the size of the effect depending on the structure and management of the surrounding landscape. This is important in the light of successive EU enlargement and ongoing reforms of AES. We examined the change in effect size over time by merging the data sets of 3 recent meta-analyses and found that schemes implemented after revision of the EU's agri-environmental programs in 2007 were not more effective than schemes implemented before revision. Furthermore, schemes aimed at areas out of production (such as field margins and hedgerows) are more effective at enhancing species richness than those aimed at productive areas (such as arable crops or grasslands). Outstanding research questions include whether AES enhance ecosystem services, whether they are more effective in agriculturally marginal areas than in intensively farmed areas, whether they are more or less cost-effective for farmland biodiversity than protected areas, and how much their effectiveness is influenced by farmer training and advice? The general lesson from the European experience is that AES can be effective for conserving wildlife on farmland, but they are expensive and need to be carefully designed and targeted.
    Habitat use and diet of Skylarks (Alauda arvensis) wintering in an intensive agricultural landscape of the Netherlands
    Geiger, F. ; Hegemann, A. ; Gleichman, J.M. ; Flinks, H. ; Snoo, G.R. de; Prinz, S. ; Tieleman, B.I. ; Berendse, F. - \ 2014
    Journal of Ornithology 155 (2014)2. - ISSN 2193-7192 - p. 507 - 518.
    farmland birds - stubble fields - granivorous birds - european farmland - lowland farmland - southern england - food - abundance - intensification - conservation
    In recent decades, Skylark (Alauda arvensis) populations in Europe have declined sharply due to agricultural intensification. Insufficient reproduction rates are one reason. Increased winter mortality may also be important, but studies outside the breeding season are scarce and mostly limited to the UK. We studied habitat selection of wintering Skylarks in an agricultural area in the Netherlands. We monitored Skylarks between November 2008 and March 2009 on 10 survey plots including 77 different arable fields and permanent grasslands and covering in total 480 ha. We simultaneously measured food availability, vegetation structure and field boundary characteristics. We also analysed 158 faecal pellets collected on potato and cereal stubble fields to relate Skylark diet to seasonal changes in food availability and foraging habitat. We show that cereal stubble fields larger than 4.3 ha, surrounded by no or low boundary vegetation and a density of dietary seeds of more than 860 seeds m-2, were most suitable for wintering Skylarks. Skylark group densities were low on permanent grasslands and on maize stubble fields. Densities of dietary seeds were highest in soils of potato stubble fields followed by cereal stubble fields, grasslands and maize stubble fields. Skylarks showed a strong preference for cereal grains, but their proportion in the diet fell sharply at the end of November, indicating that cereal grains were depleted and birds had to switch to less profitable food sources, such as weed seeds and leaves. We conclude that Skylarks wintering in agricultural landscapes possibly suffer from a lack of energy-rich food sources and only a few fields provide sufficient food. Conservation measures should strive to improve the wintering situation by creating food-rich habitats such as over-winter stubble with a rich layer of weeds on large fields and localised in open areas.
    Effects of grazing and biogeographic regions on grassland biodiversity in Hungary: analysing assemblages of 1200 species
    Báldi, A. ; Batáry, P. ; Kleijn, D. - \ 2013
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 166 (2013). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 28 - 34.
    agri-environment schemes - land-use intensity - farmland birds - european countries - landscape scale - conservation - diversity - management - plant - communities
    Agricultural intensification is a major threat to biodiversity. Agri-environment schemes, the main tools to counteract negative impacts of agriculture on the environment, are having mixed effects on biodiversity. One reason for this may be the limited number of species (groups) covered by most studies. Here, we compared species richness and abundance of 10 different species groups on extensively (0.5 cattle/ha) and intensively (1.0–1.2 cattle/ha) grazed semi-natural pastures in 42 fields in three Hungarian regions. Plants, birds and arthropods (leafhoppers, true bugs, orthopterans, leaf-beetles, weevils, bees, carabids, spiders) were sampled. We recorded 347 plant species, 748 territories of 43 bird species, and 51,883 individuals of 808 arthropod species. Compared to West European farmlands, species richness was generally very high. Grazing intensity had minor effects on ¿ and ¿ diversity, abundance and composition of the species assemblages. Region had significant effects on species richness and abundance of four taxa, and had strong effects on ¿ diversity and species composition of all taxa. Regional differences therefore contributed significantly to the high overall biodiversity. We conclude that both grazing regimes deliver significant biodiversity benefits. Agri-environmental policy at the EU level should promote the maintenance of large scale extensive farming systems. At the national level, the effectiveness of agri-environment schemes should be improved via promoting and using research evidence
    Field margins as foraging habitat for skylarks (Alauda arvensis) in the breeding season
    Kuiper, M.W. ; Ottens, H.J. ; Cenin, L. ; Schaffers, A.P. ; Ruijven, J. van; Koks, B.J. ; Berendse, F. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2013
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 170 (2013). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 10 - 15.
    agri-environment schemes - farmland birds - agricultural intensification - food resources - ecological effectiveness - population trends - landscape context - biodiversity - management - invertebrates
    Agri-environment schemes have been established in many European countries to counteract the ongoing decline of farmland birds. In this study, the selection of foraging habitat by breeding skylarks was examined in relation to agri-environmental management on Dutch farmland. Field margin use was quantified and, based on the observed flight distances, the appropriateness of the current spatial arrangement of field margins in the study landscape was evaluated. Skylarks preferred field margins for foraging over all other habitat types relative to their surface area within the territories. The visiting rate of field margins decreased with increasing distance to the nest, and especially dropped markedly when the distance between the nest and a field margin exceeded 100 m. Analysis of the current spatial arrangement of field margins in the landscape suggested that the area of skylark breeding habitat within 100 m of a field margin could be increased by 46%. This was due to the placement of field margins alongside unsuitable breeding habitat and to the positioning of field margins at short distances from each other. The efficiency of agri-environmental management for skylarks can likely be improved by a more careful spatial arrangement of field margins in the landscape.
    Revealing the contributions of reproduction and survival to the Europe-wide decline in meadow birds: review and meta-analysis
    Roodbergen, M. ; Werf, D.C. van der; Hotker, H. - \ 2012
    Journal of Ornithology 153 (2012)1. - ISSN 2193-7192 - p. 53 - 74.
    redshank tringa-totanus - oystercatchers haematopus-ostralegus - lapwings vanellus-vanellus - godwits limosa-limosa - farmland birds - agricultural intensification - breeding population - adult survival - nest success - demographic parameters
    In this review, we summarize available data on nest success, chick survival and reproductive output, and adult and juvenile survival of five meadow breeding waders in Europe: Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), and Common Redshank (Tringa totanus). The survival data from the assembled studies did not show an overall decline in adult survival in any of these species. However, our meta-analyses on reproduction data show that chick survival declined strongly in the last 40 years in western Europe and that nest success declined in eastern Europe in the period 1995-2005, in Scandinavia in the period 1985-2005, and in western Europe in the period 1950-1980. Predation of nests has increased by c. +40% in all five species in western Europe during the last four decades. Results on reproductive output, the number of fledglings produced per breeding pair, were less clear. A decline was apparent in Eurasian Oystercatcher in the period 1963-2005; an initial decline in 1953-1990, but slight recent (1990-2006) recovery in Northern Lapwing; an initial decline in Black-tailed Godwit in the period 1985-1995, but again slight increase from 1995 onwards; no trend in Common Redshank (1992-2006) nor in Eurasian Curlew (1961-2006). In all five species the results indicate that present population declines are caused by a decrease in reproduction, not in adult survival, and that reproductive output is presently too low to compensate for adult mortality.
    Abundance of invertebrate prey for birds on organic and conventional arable farms in the Netherlands
    Kragten, S. ; Tamis, W.L.M. ; Gentenaar, E. ; Midcap Ramiro, S.M. ; Poll, R.J. van der; Wang, J. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2011
    Bird Conservation International 21 (2011)1. - ISSN 0959-2709 - p. 1 - 11.
    skylarks alauda-arvensis - agricultural intensification - farmland birds - vanellus-vanellus - breeding success - northern europe - hirundo-rustica - populations - landscape - diversity
    As a result of agricultural intensification, populations of farmland birds have been in steep decline for several decades. Reduction in food abundance has been mentioned as one factor behind these declines. Extensive farm management, such as use of organic methods, is expected to provide more food for birds. In this study we compared invertebrate prey abundance for birds during the breeding season between organic and conventional arable farms. We made comparisons for three different groups of birds: (1) birds feeding on soil-living invertebrates (earthworms), (2) birds feeding on ground-dwelling invertebrates and (3) birds feeding on aerial invertebrates. Invertebrate abundance was compared between organic and conventional farms, crop and non-crop habitats, and between crop and non-crop habitats under the same farm management. On organic sites, earthworm abundance was 2–4 times higher than on conventional sites, but no differences were found between crop types. Total abundance of ground-dwelling invertebrates did not differ between organic and conventional sites, but positive effects were found for several individual taxonomic groups, such as carabid beetles and spiders. On organic farms, invertebrate abundance was higher in carrots, cereals and onions compared to other crops; on conventional farms this was true for onions. When compared with most crops, ground-dwelling invertebrate abundance was low in uncropped field margins and on ditch banks. On organic farms, aerial invertebrate abundance was approximately 70% higher than on conventional farms. On cereal fields, aerial invertebrates were especially abundant
    Seasonal distribution of meadow birds in relation to in-field heterogeneity and management
    Verhulst, J. ; Kleijn, D. ; Loonen, W. ; Berendse, F. ; Smit, C. - \ 2011
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 142 (2011)3-4. - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 161 - 166.
    agri-environment schemes - lapwings vanellus-vanellus - godwit limosa-limosa - agricultural intensification - farmland birds - food resources - habitat - grasslands - success - england
    Effectiveness of European initiatives to restore populations of meadow breeding waders is heavily debated. We studied field preference of meadow birds throughout the breeding season in four areas of over 100 ha each and related observed patterns of individual birds to in-field heterogeneity, sward height and management. Over the four areas, most waders were observed in the more heterogeneous fields at both the period of nest site selection and incubation. Additionally, fields grazed at relatively low-intensity for longer consecutive periods (on average 6 cows/ha for 30 d instead of 20 cows/ha for 2 d) were hosting high densities of lapwings but also black-tailed godwits. Our results suggest that in-field heterogeneity may be important for meadow breeding waders at the nest site selection and incubation stages. Conservation initiatives aimed at meadow breeding waders might improve their effectiveness when they increase the heterogeneity of fields. Grazing for longer consecutive periods at relatively low stocking rates might be a way to achieve this, if carried out at stocking rates low enough to allow waders to reproduce successfully.
    Modelling the effect of intersections in linear habitat on spatial distribution and local population density
    Langevelde, F. van; Grashof-Bokdam, C.J. - \ 2011
    International Journal of Geographical Information Science 25 (2011)3. - ISSN 1365-8816 - p. 367 - 378.
    yellowhammers emberiza-citrinella - breeding bird distribution - agricultural landscapes - passerine birds - farmland birds - clutch size - hedgerows - connectivity - metapopulation - management
    Many species in human-dominated landscapes find their habitat in linear elements, such as road verges, hedgerows and ditches. Local concentrations of species have been observed in the intersections of linear elements, but their spatial distribution and local population density in this linear habitat are not well captured by existing theory. Using a simple, spatially explicit individual-based GIS-model simulating hedgerow bird species with different movement abilities, local high population density of our model species in intersections and their reduced density or absence in linear habitat could be explained by limited movement. We hypothesise that, for species with low movement ability, intersections of linearly shaped habitat could contain several local populations. We argue that these predictions are valid for organisms occurring in linear habitat with limited movement relative to the dimensions of their habitat, and whose movement is directed by their habitat. Our findings support the importance of intersections for biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes, as they may serve as refuges from which individuals can (re-)colonise unoccupied habitat.
    Effectiveness of spatial mosaic management for grassland breeding shorebirds
    Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2011
    Journal of Ornithology 152 (2011)1. - ISSN 2193-7192 - p. 161 - 170.
    agri-environment schemes - godwit limosa-limosa - agricultural intensification - farmland birds - biodiversity - netherlands
    Since 2000, a new management technique has been introduced to stop the rapid decline of grassland breeding shorebirds in the Netherlands, called ‘mosaic management’. The most important difference from earlier Agri-Environment Schemes is that the mosaic management is conducted at a landscape scale (150–650 ha) rather than an individual farm scale (50–60 ha) and that there is purposeful planning of the spatial distribution and layout of management measures within a local area. We tested the effectiveness of the mosaic management by analysing breeding population trends of Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Redshank (Tringa totanus) and Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) in comparison with three other management types: individual management, regular farmland and nature reserves. After the introduction of mosaic management, populations of Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank stabilised and Northern Lapwing populations increased. Oystercatcher decreased, but this was also due to reduced winter survival. Populations in the mosaic management areas showed a greater annual improvement of 0–18% compared to other management types. The mosaic areas did not appear to be ‘sink’ areas as productivity in the mosaic areas seemed to be sufficient to support the observed densities. However, with the exception of Northern Lapwing, the change of trend was not greater in the mosaic areas than in the other management types. So, for the species other than Northern Lapwing, the good performance cannot be attributed to the mosaic management. The mosaic areas were good breeding habitats beforehand and continue to be so. It is possible that the mosaic management is part of the success, but not exclusively so. Our results show that modern farming can still be combined with grassland breeding shorebird management. However, further study of success factors is urgently needed for the conservation of the remaining good habitats on farmland and restoration of lost ones
    Ecological impacts of early 21st century agricultural change in Europe - A review
    Stoate, C. ; Báldi, A. ; Beja, P. ; Boatman, N.D. ; Herzon, I. ; Doorn, A.M. van; Snoo, G.R. de; Rakosy, L. ; Ramwell, C. - \ 2009
    Journal of Environmental Management 91 (2009)1. - ISSN 0301-4797 - p. 22 - 46.
    agri-environment schemes - land-use intensity - conventional arable farms - skylarks alauda-arvensis - modified herbicide-tolerant - plant-species richness - short-rotation coppice - set-aside land - farmland birds - landscape context
    The impacts of agricultural land use are far-reaching and extend to areas outside production. This paper provides an overview of the ecological status of agricultural systems across the European Union in the light of recent policy changes. It builds on the previous review of 2001 devoted to the impacts of agricultural intensification in Western Europe. The focus countries are the UK, The Netherlands, Boreal and Baltic countries, Portugal, Hungary and Romania, representing a geographical spread across Europe, but additional reference is made to other countries. Despite many adjustments to agricultural policy, intensification of production in some regions and concurrent abandonment in others remain the major threat to the ecology of agro-ecosystems impairing the state of soil, water and air and reducing biological diversity in agricultural landscapes. The impacts also extend to surrounding terrestrial and aquatic systems through water and aerial contamination and development of agricultural infrastructures (e.g. dams and irrigation channels). Improvements are also documented regionally, such as successful support of farmland species, and improved condition of watercourses and landscapes. This was attributed to agricultural policy targeted at the environment, improved environmental legislation, and new market opportunities. Research into ecosystem services associated with agriculture may provide further pressure to develop policy that is targeted at their continuous provisioning, fostering motivation of land managers to continue to protect and enhance them
    Shaping the landscape: Agricultural policies and local biodiversity schemes
    Turpin, N. ; Dupraz, P. ; Thenail, C. ; Joannon, A. ; Baudry, J. ; Herviou, S. ; Verburg, P.H. - \ 2009
    Land Use Policy 26 (2009)2. - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 273 - 283.
    land-use change - farmland birds - model - sustainability - dynamics - patterns - district - futures - europe - rates
    This paper analyses the potential effect of local agro-environmental policies in promoting multifunctionality in a rural landscape, with a two-scale modelling framework: a regional scale for food demand and a local scale for the forces driving land use. The framework has been designed in four steps. First, the relative influence of the driving factors on the current land use pattern has been analysed. Two scenarios are designed that vary the external demand for the total land use, and alter more or less quickly the specific location factors that drive the landscape pattern. The first scenario considers trends in the external and internal driving forces. The second relies both on totally decoupled farm subsidies and unregulated housing growth. In both scenarios a local agro-environmental policy is introduced and we compare its consequences with the previous scenario's landscape pattern. The third step consists of a modelling exercise that analyses the likely outcome of each scenario on the development of land use patterns oil a local scale. Last, these landscape patterns hive been translated into ecological indexes that assess the effect of the policy options on the multifunctionality of the local landscape. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    The effectiveness of volunteer nest protection on the nest success of Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus on Dutch arable farms
    Kragten, S. ; Nagel, J.C. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2008
    Ibis 150 (2008)4. - ISSN 0019-1019 - p. 667 - 673.
    agricultural intensification - farmland birds - hatching success - england - grasslands - survival - britain - wales - food
    Clutches of ground-nesting farmland birds are often destroyed by farming operations, resulting in insufficient reproductive success and subsequently declining populations. The aim of this study was to investigate whether volunteer nest protection can enhance nest success of ground-nesting birds. The study compared nest success of protected and unprotected Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus nests over 2 years on arable farms in the Netherlands. Because of different crop management, nest success of ground-breeding birds might differ between organic and conventional arable farms. The effectiveness of volunteer nest protection was therefore investigated on both farm types. Although nest protection significantly reduced nest loss due to farming operations, there were no significant differences in total clutch survival of protected and unprotected nests. However, sample sizes of unprotected nests, and protected nests on organic farms, were relatively small, which may have reduced statistical power. There were indications that protected nests were predated or deserted more often. We recommend exploring different ways to improve the effectiveness of volunteer nest protection through a further reduction of nest loss due to farming operations and predation
    Breeding skylarks (Alauda arvensis) on organic and conventional arable farms in The Netherlands
    Kragten, S. ; Trimbos, K.B. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2008
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 126 (2008)3. - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 163 - 167.
    farmland birds - nest success - agricultural intensification - population trends - england - abundance - britain
    The aim of this study was to analyse the effects of differences in cropping pattern between organic and conventional arable farms on the breeding activity of skylarks and to assess the effects of arable crop management on skylark nest survival. Skylark nest density was seven times higher on organic farms than on conventional farms (0.63 vs. 0.09 nest per 10 ha). Skylarks showed a strong preference for spring cereals, lucerne and grass leys, all of which were mainly or exclusively grown on organic farms. On organic farms nests were initiated during the entire breeding season, but on conventional farms no nesting activity was found during the peak of the season (early May to early June). On organic farms 27% of all nests was successful. Increasing the availability of suitable breeding habitat during the peak of the breeding season on conventional farms might provide one means of enhancing breeding skylark populations. On organic farms, crop management should focus on reducing nest loss due to farming operations.
    Field-breeding birds on organic and conventional arable farms in the Netherlands
    Kragten, S. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2008
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 126 (2008)3. - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 270 - 274.
    agricultural intensification - farmland birds - landscape - biodiversity - populations - diversity - abundance - england - success
    In this study territory densities of field-breeding farmland birds were compared on pairwise-selected organic and conventional arable farms for two years. Differences in territory densities between the two farm types were explained examining the effects of three factors on territory densities: (1) non-crop habitats, (2) crop types and (3) within-crop factors. In both years, densities of most species did not differ between organic and conventional farms. Only skylark and lapwing were more abundant on organic farms, but only skylarks showed a consistent pattern over both years. Differences in crop types grown between the two systems were the only explaining factor for differences in densities of skylark. For lapwing, the difference was only partly due to differences in crop type, but differences in within-crop factors (probably as a result of crop management) were likely to have had an effect as well. There were no significant differences in abundance of non-crop habitats between the two farming systems, so this could not explain differences in territory densities.
    Green veining: landscape determinants of biodiversity in European agricultural landscapes
    Grashof-Bokdam, C.J. ; Langevelde, F. van - \ 2005
    Landscape Ecology 20 (2005)4. - ISSN 0921-2973 - p. 417 - 439.
    field boundary vegetation - agri-environment schemes - plant-species richness - land-use - community structure - farmland birds - peat areas - management - diversity - hedgerows
    Many semi-natural landscape elements, the so-called green veining, are disappearing from the intensively used agricultural landscapes of Europe. In order to develop or restore biodiversity in these networks, it is necessary to quantify the relation between biodiversity and amount, spatial arrangement and management intensity of green veining elements. In this review, we investigate whether biodiversity increases with the amount of green veining in an agricultural landscape following the species-area relationship, and whether a certain level of biodiversity can be reached at lower densities of green veining if green veining elements are better connected (higher spatial connectivity) or if they are managed less intensively (lower management intensity). We reviewed studies on aboveground biodiversity in green veining structures in 39 scientific papers on field and experimental studies within Europe. More of these studies focussed on management intensity than on amount or spatial configuration of green veining. Also more studies focussed on the spatial scale of individual landscape elements than on the farm or landscape scale, which may be caused by the large number of studies focussing on plant or invertebrate species. Species living at larger spatial scales, e.g. mammals and birds were not often studied at the level of green veining elements as they also use agricultural fields as part of their habitat. We could not verify the species-area relation for green veining, nor the effect of amount, spatial configuration or management intensity on this relation, because only few studies quantified the found effects and no studies were found on the effect of management intensity or spatial configuration on the species-area curve in green veining. We addressed the most important challenges for future field and model research in order to fill the identified gaps in knowledge.
    Relationship between land-use intensity and species richness and abundance of birds in Hungary
    Verhulst, J. ; Baldi, A. ; Kleijn, D. - \ 2004
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 104 (2004)3. - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 465 - 473.
    farmland birds - agricultural intensification - grasslands - europe - policy - requirements - conservation - abandonment - population - management
    When Hungary, together with nine other central and eastern European countries, enters the European Union in 2004 two major threats will arise to the birds inhabiting agricultural landscapes. Marginal agricultural land may be abandoned, while the remaining area may suffer from intensification. To assess the effects of these threats breeding birds were monitored in abandoned, extensively and intensively used vineyards and grasslands in Hungary using point counts to determine species richness and density. Species numbers and bird density were highest in extensively used vineyards, while bird diversity was highest in abandoned vineyards. Abandoned vineyards were rich in species and individuals, mainly woodland species, whereas intensively used vineyards had both fewer species and individuals than the other two vineyard types. In grassland, four management types were distinguished, abandoned, extensively, intensively grazed and both intensively grazed and fertilised grassland. Extensive grassland harboured most species, bird density and diversity being highest at the abandoned site which was covered by bushes and contained many non-grassland species. Intensively grazed fields had lower species numbers, lower density and diversity than extensively grazed grassland but were still much more species rich and diverse than the fertilised fields. Our results suggest that extensively used farmland holds the highest diversity and abundance of farmland birds. Conservation efforts aimed at farmland birds should therefore focus on maintaining extensive farming systems. Author Keywords: Birds; Farmland; Intensification; Abandonment; Conservation; Vineyards; Grassland; CAP
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