Abstract: Currently, land abandonment constitutes a serious threat for many species tied to semi-natural grasslands. In southern Europe, the conservation of many grassland bird communities largely depends on low-intensity mountain farming. In this study, we analysed the effects of the main farming practices promoting grassland maintenance, i.e. grazing and mowing, on species richness of a Prealpine grassland bird community and on the breeding densities of the two commonest grassland species, the skylark (Alauda arvensis Linnaeus, 1758) and the tree pipit (Anthus trivialis Linnaeus, 1758). The two study sites were located between 1100 and 2000 m above sea level in the Italian central Prealps. Grassland species richness was positively affected by grazing, and increased with increasing distance from the nearest woodland. Skylark density was positively influenced by mowing, grassland cover extent and distance from woodland, with the latter effect occurring only at a single study site. Finally, tree pipit density was positively affected by grazing. Our findings suggest that, in order to maintain open grasslands below the natural treeline and enhance the biodiversity of grassland bird communities, grazing should be preferred over mowing. Moreover, woodland edge effects may have a negative impact on mountain grassland bird communities. Advancing woodlands and abandonment of low-intensity farming and grazing practices may therefore constitute a serious threat for open-habitat specialist bird species of the Alpine region.
Habitat management effects on Prealpine grassland bird communities / G. Bazzi, C. Foglini, M. Brambilla, N. Saino, D. Rubolini. - In: THE ITALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY. - ISSN 1125-0003. - 82:2(2015), pp. 251-261.
|Titolo:||Habitat management effects on Prealpine grassland bird communities|
|Parole Chiave:||Agricultural subsidies; Alauda arvensis; Anthus trivialis; grazing; mowing; Animal Science and Zoology|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/11250003.2014.983566|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|