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Strategic monitoring and modelling of woodpigeon populations to predict damage and the implications of agricultural change - VC0103

Description
Woodpigeons can cause extensive crop damage and are particularly destructive to oilseed rape. Populations of woodpigeons have fluctuated over the past 3 decades; throughout this period, population, food supply and damage have been monitored, resulting in the construction of a population model which allows prediction of possible impacts of changes in farmland use on woodpigeon populations and damage levels that they are likely to cause. Major changes are now occuring in British farming, involving crop changes, set-aside and increased woodland planting; these changes provide an ideal situation to test and refine the woodpigeon population model. This project will build on existing work studying agricultural factors influencing woodpigeon populations, which led to development of the population model. This study will aim to monitor annual breeding and winter populations and breeding success of woodpigeons in an arable farmland area in Cambridgeshire. The annual availability of food in this area will also be assessed, through the determination of crop distribution and abundance; resultant data will then be correlated with recorded levels of crop damage. From these relationships, impacts of changing agricultural practices on future woodpigeon population sizes and damage levels will be predicted. The study will represent a unique investigation of the relationships between Britain’s major bird pest and factors associated with agricultural practices, and will aid in the development of policies concerning control of woodpigeon populations.
Objective
1. To monitor annually the breeding and winter populations and breeding success of woodpigeons in an arable farmland area in Cambridgeshire. April 1995 - March 1998 2. To assess annually food availability through the determination of crop distribution and abundance and to correlate this with levels of crop damage. April 1995 - March 1998 3. To predict from the above relationships the impacts of changing agricultural practices (farm woodlands, set-aside, intensification etc) on future population size and damage levels. April 1995 - March 1998
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1995

To: 1998

Cost: £62,172
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Keywords
              
Fields of Study
Wildlife Management