Many studies have shown how intensification of farming is the main cause of loss biodiversity in these environments. During the last decades, agroecosystems in Europe have changed drastically, mainly due to mechanization of agriculture. In this work, species richness in bird communities was examined on a gradient of spatial heterogeneity of farmlands, in order to quantify its effects. Four categories of farmland spatial heterogeneity were defined, based on landscape and landuse parameters. The impact of features increasing the spatial heterogeneity was quantified comparing the similarity indexes between bird communities in several farmlands of Central Italy. The effects of environmental variables on bird richness were analyzed using GLM. The results highlighted that landscape features surrogates of high nature values (HNVs) of farmlands can increase more than 50% the bird species richness. The features more related to bird richness were hedgerows, scattered shrubs, uncultivated patches, and powerlines. The results confirm that the approach based on HNV for evaluating the farmlands is also suitable in order to study birds’ diversity. However, some species are more sensitive to heterogeneity, while other species occupy mainly homogeneous farmlands. As a consequence, different conservation methods must be considered for each farmland bird species.

Quantifying effects of spatial heterogeneity of farmlands on bird species richness by means of similarity index pairwise.

MORELLI, FEDERICO DANIEL
2013-01-01

Abstract

Many studies have shown how intensification of farming is the main cause of loss biodiversity in these environments. During the last decades, agroecosystems in Europe have changed drastically, mainly due to mechanization of agriculture. In this work, species richness in bird communities was examined on a gradient of spatial heterogeneity of farmlands, in order to quantify its effects. Four categories of farmland spatial heterogeneity were defined, based on landscape and landuse parameters. The impact of features increasing the spatial heterogeneity was quantified comparing the similarity indexes between bird communities in several farmlands of Central Italy. The effects of environmental variables on bird richness were analyzed using GLM. The results highlighted that landscape features surrogates of high nature values (HNVs) of farmlands can increase more than 50% the bird species richness. The features more related to bird richness were hedgerows, scattered shrubs, uncultivated patches, and powerlines. The results confirm that the approach based on HNV for evaluating the farmlands is also suitable in order to study birds’ diversity. However, some species are more sensitive to heterogeneity, while other species occupy mainly homogeneous farmlands. As a consequence, different conservation methods must be considered for each farmland bird species.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2558574
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