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Individual study: A site comparison study shows that Austrian agri-environment schemes benefit ground breeding birds on arable land more than other groups of birds

Published source details

Wrbka T., Schindler S., Pollheimer M., Schmitzberger I. & Peterseil J. (2008) Impact of the Austrian agri-environmental scheme on diversity of landscapes, plants and birds. Community Ecology, 9, 217-227


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Pay farmers to cover the costs of bird conservation measures Bird Conservation

A 2008 site comparison study of ten 3 km² plots in Austria (Wrbka et al. 2008) showed that, compared to conventionally managed arable land, land farmed less intensively (under agri-environment schemes) had larger numbers of ground breeding birds (16 vs. 13 individuals/10.ha), red listed birds (3 vs. 2 individuals/10 ha), and Species of European Conservation Concern (14 vs. 10 individuals/10 ha). Arable land managed for the conservation of particular species had 27 Species of European Conservation Concern individuals/10 ha and 29 ground breeding individuals/10 ha compared with the 11 and 14, respectively, on conventionally managed farmland. Reed-breeding birds on grassland benefited from similar initiatives (11 vs. 3 individuals/10 ha of farmland). Habitat conservation measures appeared to benefit ground breeders on arable farmland (17 vs. 10 individuals/10 ha). Breeding birds were surveyed during three visits between April and June 2003.

Pay farmers to cover the cost of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes) Farmland Conservation

A site comparison study of ten 3 km² plots in Austria (Wrbka et al. 2008) showed that, compared to conventionally managed arable land, land farmed less intensively (under agri-environment schemes) had larger numbers of ground breeding birds (16.1 vs 13.2 individuals/10 ha), Red-listed birds (2.5 vs 1.8 individuals/10 ha), and Species of European Conservation Concern (13.9 vs 10.3 individuals/10 ha). Arable land managed for the conservation of particular species had 27.6 Species of European Conservation Concern individuals/10 ha and 28.6 ground breeding individuals/10 ha compared with the 11.1 individuals/10 ha and 13.7 individuals/10 ha, respectively, on conventionally managed farmland. Reed-breeding birds on grassland benefited from similar initiatives (11.3 vs 2.8 individuals/10 ha of farmland). Habitat conservation measures appeared to benefit ground breeders on arable farmland (16.6 vs 10 individuals/10 ha). Breeding birds were surveyed during three visits between April and June 2003.

 

Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally Farmland Conservation

A site comparison study in 1998 and 2003 of ten 1.1 km² plots in Austria (Wrbka et al. 2008) showed that grasslands managed for extensive mixed agriculture or intensive livestock farming contained a greater number of plant species when the use of pesticides and fertilizers was reduced. On arable farmland, reducing pesticide use had no effect on the number of plant species present, except for on mixed extensive arable land where fields with no agro-chemicals applied during critical periods had significantly more plant species than traditionally managed fields. For areas of mixed arable farmland in mountainous areas, fields without any agro-chemicals had a greater number of plant species than fields where the use of agro-chemicals was merely reduced. The number of broadleaved plant species in each plot was determined according to the relevés method of sampling vegetation during field surveys in April-September of 1998 and 2003.