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

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Pay farmers to cover the costs of bird conservation measures

Action Link
Bird Conservation

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

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Pay farmers to cover the costs of bird conservation measures

    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.

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

    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.

     

  3. Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally

    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.

     

Output references

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, terrestrial 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 18

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 Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust