Declining birds in Australian agricultural landscapes may benefit from aspects of the European agri-environment model

Attwood, Simon J. and Park, Sarah E. and Maron, Martine and Collard, Stuart J. and Robinson, Doug and Reardon-Smith, Kathryn M. and Cockfield, Geoff (2009) Declining birds in Australian agricultural landscapes may benefit from aspects of the European agri-environment model. Biological Conservation, 142 (10). pp. 1981-1991. ISSN 0006-3207

Abstract

Temperate Australia’s wheat/sheep zone and much of Western Europe have both experienced dramatic declines in native bird populations associated with agricultural landscapes. We compare recent conservation strategies on private land in the context of each region’s historical agricultural development and the ecology of its bird fauna. Specifically, we consider which aspects of the conservation instruments and practices employed in European agricultural landscapes might be used to augment and inform approaches to private-land biodiversity conservation in Australia. Australian biodiversity conservation activities have focussed predominantly on remnant native vegetation and rarely target the agricultural matrix (i.e. land that is primarily used for agricultural production). However, declining species include those that not only primarily inhabit woodland, but also species for which components of the agricultural matrix are important, or even their main, habitat. In contrast, in Europe a range of conservation activities undertaken through agri-environment schemes focus explicitly on the management of the agricultural matrix. Whilst the different approaches to conservation on private land in Australia and Europe reflect the two continents’ different ecologies, land-use histories and political economies of agriculture, there are a number of parallels between bird population declines in the two regions, and an opportunity may exist to incorporate some of the successful aspects of the European agri-environment approach into emerging stewardship schemes in Australia. We suggest that the long-term nature of European agri-environment agreements, the principle of landholder payments more commensurate with reduced production opportunity and management actions specifically targeted at the agricultural matrix, are features of the European scheme that could benefit both woodland- and matrix-inhabiting bird species in Australian agricultural landscapes.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Awaiting Author's version which may be deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Depositing User: Dr Kathryn Reardon-Smith
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2010 05:29
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: agricultural intensification; agricultural matrix; agri-environment schemes; conservation; land stewardship; farmland birds; woodland birds
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070199 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management not elsewhere classified
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.008
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/6127

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