Testing bespoke management of foraging habitat for European turtle doves Streptopelia turtur

Dunn, Jenny C. and Morris, Antony J. and Grice, Philip V. (2015) Testing bespoke management of foraging habitat for European turtle doves Streptopelia turtur. Journal for Nature Conservation, 25 . pp. 23-34. ISSN 1617-1381

Documents
Dunn et al 2015 J Nat Cons final accepted version.docx

Request a copy
25337 Dunn et al 2015 J Nat Cons final accepted version.pdf
[img]
[Download]
[img] Microsoft Word
Dunn et al 2015 J Nat Cons final accepted version.docx - Whole Document
Restricted to Repository staff only

1MB
[img]
Preview
PDF
25337 Dunn et al 2015 J Nat Cons final accepted version.pdf - Whole Document

1MB
Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Agri-environment schemes (AES) are increasingly being employed to mitigate biodiversity loss in agricultural environments. The European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur is an obligate granivorous bird in rapid decline within both the UK (−96% since 1970) and across continental Europe (−77% since 1980), despite widespread uptake of AES. Here, we assess the efficacy of a potentially new, sown agri-environment option designed to provide abundant, accessible seed for S. turtur during the breeding season. During summer 2011 we compared vegetation structure and seed provision on trial plots to control habitat types (existing agri-environment options thought to potentially provide S. turtur foraging habitat) to assess whether trial plots performed better for foraging S. turtur than control habitats. In September 2011 all trial plots were topped (cut) and half of a subset of trial plots were then scarified (60% of soil surface disturbed). Vegetation structure on topped, and topped and scarified trial plots was measured during summer 2012 to determine which management regime was most effective in maintaining suitable sward structure and seed provision into the second year. No control habitat type produced as much seed important in S. turtur diet as trial plots at any point during year one. Trial plots provided accessible vegetation structure early in the season with no difference in vegetation metrics between trial plots and previously published data on S. turtur foraging locations. However, to allow later access, management is required during mid-June to open up the sward through localized topping or scarification. Vegetation structure during year two was generally too dense to attract foraging S. turtur. However, scarifying trial plots during the September following sowing encouraged self-seeding of Fumaria officinalis (a plant species historically forming a significant proportion of S. turtur diet during the breeding season) into the second year, with this species present in 16% of scarified trial plots compared to only 4% of topped trial plots during year two. Thus, autumn scarification, possibly followed by topping or scarification of part of the trial plots in June, is necessary for trial plots to provide more seed and access for S. turtur than existing agri-environment options during year two. We recommend modifications to our original seed mix in order to reduce vegetation density and improve vegetation structure. The study provides an example of the need to strike the right balance between food abundance and accessibility, through vegetation structure, when designing agri-environment scheme management options that provide food for birds.

Keywords:Agri-environment, Arable plant, Farmland management, Food abundance, Food accessibility, Fumaria officinalis, Seed plot, Vegetation management, JCNotOpen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D447 Environmental Conservation
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D400 Agriculture
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
Related URLs:
ID Code:25337
Deposited On:20 Dec 2016 15:05

Repository Staff Only: item control page