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Review of Agri-Environment scheme options impacts for birds - LM04117

Description
Reversing the decline in farmland bird populations was a targeted outcome of Environmental Stewardship (ES), and remains a key priority for the current Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme. Similarly, reversing the decline in woodland bird populations was a targeted outcome of the England Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) and its successor, CS, which also includes grants for woodland management. This reflects the fact that the states of both farmland and woodland birds are ‘impact indicators’ for agri-environment schemes (AES) at EU level, and that farmland and woodland bird populations are used as indicators of progress with the England Biodiversity Strategy Biodiversity 2020. As a result, monitoring the response of key farmland and woodland bird species to AES is a key element of the Defra/Natural England Environmental Land Management Schemes Monitoring and Evaluation Plan 2015-2020. This project will review and analyse four previous projects:
1. Assessing the effectiveness of the HLS agreements deploying the Farmland Bird Package 2016/17 (LM0463)
2. Winter use of agri-environment scheme options by birds (LM0488)
3. Reviewing the benefits of agri-environment schemes for farmland biodiversity and predicting the extent of agri-environment provision needed to reverse population declines of farmland birds in England (LM0482)
4. Testing Agri-environment grant delivery of woodland management for biodiversity (LM0487)
Objective
1) In relation to project LM0463 (Assessing the effectiveness of the HLS agreements deploying the Farmland Bird Package 2016/17), conduct a new analysis to investigate the value of fallow plots for skylarks and lapwings, and increase the statistical power of the ‘extent of AES provision’ analysis by upgrading from univariate to multivariate models to facilitate publication in the refereed scientific literature.
2) In relation to project LM0488 (Winter use of agri-environment scheme options by birds), expand the analysis to investigate if the options delivering winter food/habitat have follow-through effects on population density in the subsequent breeding season.
3) In relation to project LM0482 (Reviewing the benefits of agri-environment schemes for farmland biodiversity and predicting the extent of agri-environment provision needed to reverse population declines of farmland birds in England), further develop the spatial prioritisation maps for farmland birds to increase their utility as a targeting tool for CS and ELMS.
4) In relation to project LM0487 (Testing Agri-environment grant delivery of woodland management for biodiversity), conduct a new analysis on the responses of birds to woodland management using recent Breeding Bird Survey data to provide a counterfactual for the bird WIG sites.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2020

To: 2021

Cost: £60,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Keywords
Agriculture              
Biodiversity              
Birds              
Environmental Stewardship              
Invertebrates              
Wildlife Management