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Agreement level effects of HLS on farmland birds - LM0467

During the summers of 2008, 2011 and 2014, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) undertook farm-scale bird surveys of over 60 farms under HLS agreement deploying bird-friendly management options, to look for differences over time in population trends compared to those in the wider countryside. The first resurvey (in 2011) found evidence that population trends were more favourable on HLS farms for 5 out of 15 species of farmland birds. However, the second resurvey (in 2014) found that for approximately half the species/region combinations that showed positive effects of HLS between 2008 and 2011, the positive effects had diminished or disappeared. This project involves another re-survey, in the 2017 breeding season, of a sample of the HLS farms, to test for bird population responses to HLS management and to investigate the hypotheses for the lost/diminished effects of HLS recorded in 2014. As these HLS agreements are of around 10 years duration, 2017 represents the last opportunity to assess the responses of birds to HLS on this suite of farms. As in 2014, this project will use the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data to provide the control stratum for the comparison between bird trends on land under and not under HLS management.
To undertake surveys of a sample of HLS sites originally surveyed in 2008 to enable:
1. an evaluation of the effectiveness of HLS at the farm-scale in delivering for birds across the duration of the 10-year agreements, and
2. an assessment to be made on whether the positive response to HLS management observed during the period 2008-11 but which was subsequently lost by 2014, was a temporary reduction (probably caused by poor weather in the years 2012 and 2013), or reflects more sustained, longer term processes.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2017

To: 2018

Cost: £105,095
Contractor / Funded Organisations
British Trust For Ornithology (BTO)
Environmental Stewardship              
Natural Environment