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Agricultural landscapes as habitat for birds in central Chile

Revista Chilena De Historia Natural


Background: Understanding the role of agroecosystems as habitat for wildlife is crucial for long-term conservation planning, as different crop stratification and landscape elements can influence bird communities, which are also affected by seasonality. The goal of our study was to determine how agricultural landscapes varying in land cover characteristics affect bird richness and abundance. Bird surveys were conducted at 110 locations within agricultural landscapes in central Chile. The surveyed areas were characterized by land cover at two scales (50 and 500 m radii) through direct observation and photo-interpretation, during winter and spring seasons. Generalized Linear Mixed Models were used to evaluate the effects of different agricultural land covers on bird species and communities. Results: Our results show that birds were more abundant during winter, in particular for insectivorous and granivorous birds, and that bird species richness was significantly increased due to cover provided by hedgerows at the plot scale. Conclusions: We found that abundance of some bird species in agroecosystems in central Chile was higher in winter than in spring, and that overall bird richness was favored by structural diversity including non-crop structures such as hedgerows, which thus may be relevant for improving bird conservation management in temperate agroecosystems. Our results suggest that native vegetation proximity and area may affect seasonal changes in bird communities at larger scales, relationships which warrant further study.

Author(s): Munoz-Saez, A; Perez-Quezada, JF; Estades, CF

Journal: Revista Chilena De Historia Natural

Year: 2017