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Cultural ecology of Whitethroat (Sylvia communis) habitat management by farmers: Field-boundary vegetation in lowland England

Journal of Environmental Management

Abstract

Field-boundary structure, its use by territorial Whitethroats, and its management by farmers were investigated in southern Wiltshire using a combination of fieldwork and a questionnaire survey. Whitethroats favour wide herbaceous field boundary strips and low hedges. Long-term cultural and short-term economic interests combine to influence farmers' management decisions. Only farmers with game and conservation interests claimed to adopt field-boundary management that would benefit Whitethroats, but across all farms, intended and actual herbaceous strips were too narrow, and their management too imprecise, for Whitethroats and other wildlife. Agricultural advisors and magazines were the main influences on farmers' management decisions. Improving habitat for Whitethroats could have both agronomic and wider conservation benefits, and the provision of information that accommodates farmers' cultural and economic incentives could benefit both farmers and wildlife. (C) 2001 Academic Press.

Author(s): Stoate, C; Morris, RM; Wilson, JD

Journal: Journal of Environmental Management

Year: 2001

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