Contrasting bird communities along production gradients of crops and livestock in French farmlands

Abstract : Impacts on birds of intensive management practices and of landscape simplification have been widely studied, but there is a lack of knowledge about impacts on birds of landscapes associated with intensive livestock production. The objective of this work was to investigate changes in several bird community descriptors along different production gradients. Production of arable crops and from grazing livestock was computed over French agroecosystems and expressed in terms of edible energy. Using data from the French Breeding Bird Survey along with data from national agricultural statistics, we modeled the relationship between production and five bird community descriptors, namely, community trophic index, community specialization index, and three group-specific species richness indices. Bird communities were shaped by two production gradients. Along a gradient of increasing crop production, we observed a shift from locally species-diverse communities dominated by gen-eralist or grassland specialist species towards species-poor communities dominated by granivorous species specialized in arable habitats (all p-values ≤ 0.002). Second, we observed a shift towards homogenized communities dominated by generalists along a gradient of increasing livestock production (p-values ≤ 0.001). Our research highlights the need to consider crop and livestock separately when investigating their impacts on biodiversity. It also hints towards the need for differentiated strategies to protect farmland birds in crop regions and in livestock regions.
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Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 2018, 253, pp.55 - 61. 〈10.1016/j.agee.2017.10.025〉
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Camille Dross, Karine Princé, Frédéric Jiguet, Muriel Tichit. Contrasting bird communities along production gradients of crops and livestock in French farmlands. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 2018, 253, pp.55 - 61. 〈10.1016/j.agee.2017.10.025〉. 〈hal-01634656〉

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