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Publication Detail
Seasonal benefits of farmland pond management for birds
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Lewis-Phillips J, BROOKS S, Sayer C, McCrea R, Siriwardena G, Robson H, Harrison A, Axmacher J
  • Publisher:
    British Trust for Ornithology
  • Publication date:
    01/12/2019
  • Journal:
    Bird Study
  • Print ISSN:
    0006-3657
  • Keywords:
    Aquatic habitat restoration, pond restoration, agricultural biodiversity conservation, agri- environment schemes
Abstract
Capsule: Seasonal benefits of farmland pond restoration for birds. Aims: To evaluate season-specific benefits of farmland pond restoration for local bird communities. Methods: Bird communities were recorded at unmanaged overgrown and managed open-canopy farmland ponds over the breeding, post-breeding and winter seasons. Results were compared and related to seasonal variation in environmental conditions of within-pond and marginal habitats to identify predictors of local bird communities. Results: Bird communities at managed open-canopy ponds showed a higher abundance and species richness over all seasons displaying pronounced seasonal shifts in composition. Warblers and other specialized bird species were frequently observed at open-canopy sites over the breeding and post-breeding seasons but were generally absent from overgrown ponds. While pond management and landscape connectivity had a consistent positive influence on bird communities over all seasons, the importance of other predictors such as bramble area varied seasonally. Conclusions: Our study highlights a key role of pond management for farmland bird conservation. In addition, the identified seasonal predictors of bird assemblages provide valuable lessons for the design of agri-environment prescriptions for farmland ponds, highlighting the importance of bramble-dominated patches and pond marginal habitat over the breeding season and of a strong connectivity between pond margins and surrounding semi-natural habitats throughout the year.
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