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Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery - BD1628

Description
One of Defra’s eight Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets is to reverse the long-term decline in the number of farmland birds by 2020 as measured by the farmland bird index (the population trends of 18 bird species). Many of these farmland bird index species are granivores and their population declines are likely to be linked to reduced food availability in winter associated with the loss of over-wintered stubble and reduction of weed seeds. A range of measures have been introduced, or are being considered, which will improve the winter feeding conditions for several declining seed-eating birds on farmland, such as stubble retention and establishment of seed-bearing, sacrificial crops. Several critical questions need to be addressed to ensure that these measures deliver their biodiversity targets and are established in the most cost-effective way. These include: (i) what is the optimal spatial and temporal scale at which to provide winter food resources for birds (determined largely by the movement/dispersal patterns of birds in winter)? (ii) what are the winter-to-summer dispersal patterns of birds and hence the geographical scale at which breeding populations are likely to respond to winter food resources provided in a specific location? (iii) what is the relationship between increased levels of winter food provision, the survival of farmland birds and subsequent breeding population size (i.e. the demographic mechanisms underlying responses by birds to increased resources at the individual and population level)?

The work described in this proposal will use a combination of existing data sets and ongoing field-based projects, alongside a new large-scale field experiment and two modelling approaches (individual behaviour based models IBBM and Integrated Population Modelling IPM) to address these questions. The results will provide a rigorous scientific basis informing the development and implementation of agri-environment measures designed to enhance winter food resources for seed-eating birds. It represents a critical advance towards quantifying the scale at which resource provision is required to achieve recovery of farmland bird populations as well as understanding the underlying mechanisms linking resource provision and population changes for farmland birds.
Objective

1. To quantify the optimum spatial scale and temporal provision of winter food resources in representative agricultural landscapes.
2. To quantify dispersal patterns for a representative range of species and link them with winter/early spring food provision.
3. To determine the relationship between survival and body condition with food provision and its knock-on effects on breeding populations.
4. To develop and validate a mechanistic model linking demographic mechanisms to resource provision in a range of representative agricultural landscapes.
5. To provide detailed recommendations for new or refined management prescriptions for resource
provision on agri-environment scheme land.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery   (875k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery   (197k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 10   (1108k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 11   (306k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 12   (86k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 2   (67k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 3   (276k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 4   (639k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 5   (433k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 6   (91k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 7   (316k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 8   (1074k)
• Final Report - Annex : Understanding the demographic mechanisms underlying effective deployment of winter prescriptions for farmland bird recovery- appendix 9   (2714k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2007

Cost: £681,396
Contractor / Funded Organisations
British Trust For Ornithology
Keywords
Biodiversity              
Environmental Protection              
Habitat conservation              
Nature conservation              
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship