Article CC BY 4.0
refereed
published

Associations between farmland birds and fallow area at large scales: Consistently positive over three periods of the EU Common Agricultural Policy but moderated by landscape complexity

GND
123007371X
ORCID
0000-0003-0869-9672
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Biodiversity, Braunschweig, Germany
Hertzog, Lionel R.;
GND
133084949
ORCID
0000-0002-2544-640X
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Biodiversity, Braunschweig, Germany
Klimek, Sebastian;
GND
133869903
ORCID
0000-0002-2491-2624
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies, Braunschweig, Germany
Röder, Norbert;
ORCID
0000-0001-8558-599X
Affiliation
Department of Conservation Biology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
Frank, Claudia;
GND
1142179486
ORCID
0000-0003-4878-5401
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies, Braunschweig, Germany
Böhner, Hannah G. S.;
GND
1024987590
ORCID
0000-0002-8313-6979
Affiliation
Department of Conservation Biology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
Kamp, Johannes

  1. Fallow agricultural land provides habitat for threatened and declining farmland biodiversity. Policy change under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been driving the area of fallows over the past decades. It is still unclear, whether positive relationships between farmland biodiversity and fallow area are general in time and space, and what landscape factors moderate them at large scales.
  2. We analysed associations between fallow area and species richness and abundance of 24 farmland birds in 3 years covering three CAP funding periods, by linking agricultural statistics at the district level to plot-level bird data from a national-scale monitoring scheme. We tested whether these relationships are moderated by species' habitat preferences and landscape configurational complexity, measured as the edge density of woody features.
  3. Species richness was positively associated with fallow area in all three funding periods. We found a hump-shaped response along a gradient of increasing landscape configurational complexity. The associations between fallow area and species richness peaked at intermediate values of edge density.
  4. The associations between species abundance and fallow area varied among species, but there was strong support for positive and consistent associations in 15 (63%) of the studied species. There was little support for a moderating effect of landscape configurational complexity on the associations of fallow area and bird abundance.
  5. Policy implications. To support farmland biodiversity, we suggest promoting fallow land across all agricultural landscapes and anchoring respective ambitious targets in the CAP strategic plans. An increase of fallow land beyond minimum requirements through voluntary measures, such as eco-schemes and agri-environment schemes, should particularly target landscapes with intermediate configurational complexity.

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