EU agricultural reform fails on biodiversity
Pe'er, G. ; Dicks, L.V. ; Visconti, A. ; Arlettaz, R. ; Baldi, A. ; Kleijn, D. ; Scott, A.V. - \ 2014
Science 344 (2014)6188. - ISSN 0036-8075 - p. 1090 - 1092.
agri-environment schemes - farmland biodiversity - habitat heterogeneity - population trends - food security - conservation - europe - management - birds - intensification
In December 2013, the European Union (EU) enacted the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2014–2020, allocating almost 40% of the EU's budget and influencing management of half of its terrestrial area. Many EU politicians are announcing the new CAP as “greener,” but the new environmental prescriptions are so diluted that they are unlikely to benefit biodiversity. Individual Member States (MSs), however, can still use flexibility granted by the new CAP to design national plans to protect farmland habitats and species and to ensure long-term provision of ecosystem services.
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.
Demography of European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus
Bijlsma, R.G. ; Vermeulen, M. ; Hemerik, L. ; Klok, C. - \ 2012
Ardea 100 (2012)2. - ISSN 0373-2266 - p. 163 - 177.
migrating raptors - population trends - hawk-mountain - birds - age - pennsylvania - satellite - abundance - recovery - forests
We set out to explore whether changes in fecundity and survival (or both) of European Honey Buzzards were associated with trends observed in The Netherlands. We used standardized monitoring data on numbers and reproduction from several study plots in The Netherlands over the period of 1974–2005. Survival estimates were based on recoveries of Honey Buzzards ringed throughout Europe (collated by EURING and individual ringing stations). Based on these values we computed the annual population growth rate with a time invariant population model, and used elasticity analysis to detect the parameter with the strongest influence on growth rate. Lambda was smaller than 1, suggesting a population decline, but confidence intervals around lambda were relatively wide. Elasticity of adult survival was much higher than of any other life history parameter, indicating that adult survival has potentially the greatest impact on annual population growth. Because data on reproduction varied strongly we estimated a 95% confidence interval for annual population growth by bootstrapping the reproduction data. Furthermore, we analysed the influence of stochastic food availability (i.e. wasp abundance) on reproduction, and through this demographic factor, on the population trend. The stochastic model suggests a clear population decline, which is consistent with observed declines across much of northern and western Europe (including The Netherlands). For the growth rate ¿ to reach 1, a reproductive output of 1.16 young per pair was calculated to be necessary, much higher than the 0.53–0.88 found in two study sites in The Netherlands.
Landscape composition influences farm management effects on farmland birds in winter: A pan-European approach
Geiger, F. ; Snoo, G.R. de; Berendse, F. - \ 2010
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 139 (2010)4. - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 571 - 577.
agri-environment schemes - conventional arable farms - agricultural intensification - granivorous birds - population trends - southern england - stubble fields - species richness - survival rates - wheat fields
This study examined the effects of agricultural intensity, various farming practices, landscape composition and vegetation cover on the abundance and species richness of wintering farmland birds, assessed simultaneously across seven European regions. The abundance and species richness of wintering farmland birds were negatively affected by agricultural intensity. The effects of yield and farm type were interlinked. Of the 10 farming practices assessed, mechanical weeding and the amount of organic fertilizer applied negatively affected farmland birds, presumably due to reduced food availability on arable fields. Positive effects of organic farming on farmland birds proved to be limited to simplified landscapes. More farmland birds were observed in areas with more stubble, pasture and green manure crops. Species richness was higher in areas with more pasture. The results of this study show that farm management, vegetation cover and landscape composition all influence wintering farmland birds. Heterogeneous landscapes comprising arable crops as well as grasslands support most species of farmland birds in winter. The effectiveness of organic farming and agri-environment schemes depends on landscape composition. Therefore, different agri-environment schemes should be designed for different landscape types
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.
The effect of dairy farm management regime on swallow (Hirundo rustica) abundance in the Netherlands
Lubbe, S.K. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2007
Bird Study 54 (2007). - ISSN 0006-3657 - p. 176 - 181.
martins delichon-urbica - population trends - selection - habitat - biodiversity - britain - england - birds - size
Aim To identify differences in Swallow abundance between organically and conventionally managed dairy farms, by examining three factors: farm buildings, food availability and farmer attitudes to Swallows. Methods Organic and conventional dairy farm holdings were compared in pairwise fashion. On visits to individual farms the number of occupied Swallow nests was counted, the number and type of farm buildings recorded, food availability assessed and the farmer¿s attitude gauged via a questionnaire. Results No significant difference was found in the number of Swallows on organic and conventional farms. Nor was there any significant difference in food availability or farmer attitude between the two types of holding. On conventional farms there were significantly more buildings qualifying as preferential Swallow breeding sites, but this did not result in more Swallows on these holdings. Conclusions Our results show that the adopted regime of dairy farm ma