Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Use ‘mosaic management’

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • 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.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. 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.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. 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.

    Study and other actions tested
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. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust