Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Use ‘mosaic management’ Bird Conservation

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

  • A replicated, controlled before-and-after study from the Netherlands found that northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus population trends changed from decreases to increases following the introduction of mosaic management. Three other waders did not show such a response.
  • A replicated, paired sites study in the Netherlands found that black-tailed godwits Limosa limosa had higher productivity under mosaic management than other management types, and nests were less likely to be trampled by livestock.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated paired sites comparison in 2004-5 on six wet grassland sites in the Netherlands (Schekkerman et al. 2008) found that the reproductive productivity of black-tailed godwits Limosa limosa was significantly higher on sites managed under a ‘mosaic management’ agri-environment scheme, compared to on non-scheme sites (average of 0.28 chicks fledged/breeding pair for scheme sites vs. 0.16 chicks/pair on non-scheme sites). Differences were due to higher nest survival on mosaic management sites (50% vs. 33%), as there were no differences in the number of chicks hatching in successful nests (3.4 chicks/successful nest vs. 3.2 chicks/successful nest), or the fledging rate of chicks (11% fledging success on all sites). Nests were equally likely to be predated on scheme and non-scheme sites (32% predated vs. 37%), but were more likely to be trampled or destroyed by mowing on non-scheme sites (6% vs. 29%). Most fields in five scheme sites and about 50% in the sixth, had nests marked (to reduce losses due to farming activities); at non-scheme sites almost 100% of nest were marked in three, some in two, and none in one. The number of nests on different sites was not provided.



A replicated, controlled before-and-after study in 1996-2008 in eight wet grassland areas in Friesland and Groningen, the Netherlands (Oosterveld et al. 2010), found that northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus population trends moved from a 7% annual decrease to a 4% annual increase following the introduction of mosaic management in 2000-1. Three other species (black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa, common redshank Tringa totanus and Eurasian oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus) did not show any change in trend after the introduction. When comparing trends on the mosaic management sites with 29 farms using individual conservation management, 46 farms with standard management and 42 nature reserves, only lapwing populations increased significantly more on mosaic management sites, compared to the others. Oystercatcher populations did significantly less well on mosaic management sites, compared to nature reserves.


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.