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To provide guidelines on the establishment & management of grasslands for the conservation of wildbirds on farmland - BD0402

Agricultural intensification has led to the conversion of much lowland grassland to arable cropping, which has had a negative impact on populations of several bird species. In coastal areas, brent geese can cause significant damage to winter cereal crops; however there is evidence to indicate that brent geese prefer to feed on suitable grass fields. It is proposed that increased establishment and improved management of grasslands would help to improve the winter feeding conditions for brent geese, alleviate geese feeding pressure on winter cereals, and reverse the declining population trends of many bird species associated with meadows. This study will aim to reduce conflicts between agriculture and conservation by improving grassland availability and quality for birds. The nutritional needs of brent geese in winter will be determined and used to assess optimal forms of grassland management for provision of feeding areas away from crops. This will involve laboratory and field work phases. In addition, the ecological and behavioural needs of meadow birds will be determined and the effects of different grassland management regimes on the use of grass fields for feeding and breeding will be assessed. Findings of the study will be promoted through conferences, popular press, radio and TV natural history programmes, FWAG and ADAS advisors. New findings on avian nutrition will be published in scientific journals as appropriate.
To determine the nutritional needs of Brent Geese in winter and use these to assess the optimum forms of management of grassland to provide alternative feeding areas in order to attract the geese away from crops. This will involve laboratory and field phases of the work. To determine the ecological/behavioural needs of meadow birds and to assess the effects of different grass-land management regimes on the use of grass fields for feeding and breeding.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1991

To: 1995

Cost: £483,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship