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Applying red lists to the evaluation of agricultural habitat: regular occurrence of threatened birds, vascular plants, and bryophytes in field margins of Poland

Biodiversity and Conservation

Abstract

Using the assessments of conservation status of flora and fauna, we discuss declining species in semi-natural field margins and stress the importance of these vanishing habitats. Seventy field margins in the diverse farmland of SW Poland were investigated with regard to their vascular plants, bryophytes and breeding birds. We checked the occurrence of threatened and conservation concern species, i.e. those listed in local, national or European threatened species lists, and birds with an unfavorable conservation status in Europe. Of a total of 673 species, 18 classified as threatened were recorded: 12 vascular plants (2.2 % of the total number of species), five bryophytes (5.6 %), and one bird species (2.0 %). Threatened plants occurred in 18.6 % of study plots, bryophytes in 20.0 % and birds in 12.9 %. Eleven bird species, noted in 95.7 % of study plots, had an unfavorable conservation status in Europe. Increasing volumes of trees and shrubs significantly increased the overall richness in each taxa. In percentage terms the occurrence of focal species in all three taxa tended to be higher in shrubby than in herbaceous and tree-lined margins. Our data demonstrate that field margins in Central European arable farmland regularly support rare and threatened species, and therefore deserve greater conservation efforts. Red lists along with alternative listing approaches can be employed to evaluate the biodiversity of fine-scale habitats, but their applicability depends on the taxonomic group and geographical scale of the lists, reflecting different conservation priorities.

Author(s): Wuczynski, A; Dajdok, Z; Wierzcholska, S; Kujawa, K

Journal: Biodiversity and Conservation

Year: 2014

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