Farmland birds and land use in Lower Saxony - a cooperation project between scientists and volunteers
The populations of farmland birds declined over the last decades. In our project we relate changes in agricultural land-use to population trends of common breeding farmland birds. The results contribute to develop targeted and regionally differentiated conservation actions to counteract negative farmland bird population trends.
Farmland birds depend on agricultural fields, grassland or landscape elements like hedges either for foraging or nesting activities. Over the last few decades particularly common farmland birds have undergone population declines. These declines were mainly attributed to changes in farming practices and a decrease in landscape features such as hedgerows. However, the strength of the link between changes in both agricultural land-use and populations of farmland birds is relatively unknown. In order to gain a deeper understanding of population trends and their causes, detailed spatial and temporal data on agricultural land-use and landscape structure is needed. Our project aims at analysing changes in farmland bird populations and their drivers using detailed spatial information on agricultural land-use (IACS data) and monitoring data of common breeding birds in Lower Saxony, Germany. Moreover, we aim to investigate whether population trends of farmland birds differ between agricultural regions in Lower Saxony.
Policy, science, ornithologists
As a first step we analyze temporal trends of parameters that describe the type and intensity of agricultural land-use and are supposed to affect farmland birds. Based on the results we identify regions in Lower Saxony that can be characterized by the chosen variables of land-use change. In parallel, we calculate temporal trends of farmland birds on the monitoring sites. Finally, we link farmland bird population trends to agricultural changes and regions.
8.2017 - 7.2019
Project status: ongoing