Traditional livestock systems have supported farmland biodiversity for millennia. However, modern intensive husbandry is challenging wildlife persistence in agroecosystems. We assessed the multiscale determinants of the species richness of breeding bird communities, as well as the occurrence of a flagship raptor species, the lesser kestrel Falco naumanni, in an intensive agroecosystem mostly dedicated to the production of the world-renowned Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. We relied on three avian community richness metrics reflecting a gradient of increasing association with farmed landscapes, i.e. the overall breeding bird species richness, the richness of farmland species, and the richness of ground-nesters (i.e. species that mostly breed within crops) and tested their association with the landscape, agricultural, and pedological variables as well as with lesser kestrel occurrence. We showed that environmental variables determining overall richer avian assemblages did not coincide with those shaping farmland and ground-nesting species richness, thus challenging the potential effectiveness of conservation actions. However, such actions could be optimized by taking into account different spatial scales affecting different species groups. Indeed, landscape heterogeneity, semi-natural/marginal habitats, and a moderate cover of build-up areas enhanced overall species richness at a small spatial scale. At a broader scale, landscape heterogeneity enhanced farmland species richness, whereas fragmentation determined by urbanization negatively affected ground-nesters. Avian community richness metrics were maximized at an intermediate cover of three prevailing crops (winter, summer, and hay crops), increasing when they co-occurred, i.e., in the presence of crop rotation. Lesser kestrel occurrence was associated with richer assemblages of ground-nesting species because this raptor and ground-nesters showed analogous ecological requirements. These findings suggest that the lesser kestrel can be regarded as an ideal flagship for market-based conservation initiatives (e.g., tailored to the production of biodiversity-friendly agri-food products) in intensive agroecosystems since actions aimed at improving the foraging habitats of the species are likely to benefit co-occurring farmland birds of conservation interest.

The occurrence of a flagship raptor species in intensive agroecosystems is associated with more diverse farmland bird communities: Opportunities for market-based conservation / G. Assandri, G. Bazzi, L. Siddi, R. Nardelli, J.G. Cecere, D. Rubolini, M. Morganti. - In: AGRICULTURE, ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT. - ISSN 0167-8809. - 349:(2023), pp. 108441.1-108441.15. [10.1016/j.agee.2023.108441]

The occurrence of a flagship raptor species in intensive agroecosystems is associated with more diverse farmland bird communities: Opportunities for market-based conservation

D. Rubolini
Penultimo
;
2023

Abstract

Traditional livestock systems have supported farmland biodiversity for millennia. However, modern intensive husbandry is challenging wildlife persistence in agroecosystems. We assessed the multiscale determinants of the species richness of breeding bird communities, as well as the occurrence of a flagship raptor species, the lesser kestrel Falco naumanni, in an intensive agroecosystem mostly dedicated to the production of the world-renowned Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. We relied on three avian community richness metrics reflecting a gradient of increasing association with farmed landscapes, i.e. the overall breeding bird species richness, the richness of farmland species, and the richness of ground-nesters (i.e. species that mostly breed within crops) and tested their association with the landscape, agricultural, and pedological variables as well as with lesser kestrel occurrence. We showed that environmental variables determining overall richer avian assemblages did not coincide with those shaping farmland and ground-nesting species richness, thus challenging the potential effectiveness of conservation actions. However, such actions could be optimized by taking into account different spatial scales affecting different species groups. Indeed, landscape heterogeneity, semi-natural/marginal habitats, and a moderate cover of build-up areas enhanced overall species richness at a small spatial scale. At a broader scale, landscape heterogeneity enhanced farmland species richness, whereas fragmentation determined by urbanization negatively affected ground-nesters. Avian community richness metrics were maximized at an intermediate cover of three prevailing crops (winter, summer, and hay crops), increasing when they co-occurred, i.e., in the presence of crop rotation. Lesser kestrel occurrence was associated with richer assemblages of ground-nesting species because this raptor and ground-nesters showed analogous ecological requirements. These findings suggest that the lesser kestrel can be regarded as an ideal flagship for market-based conservation initiatives (e.g., tailored to the production of biodiversity-friendly agri-food products) in intensive agroecosystems since actions aimed at improving the foraging habitats of the species are likely to benefit co-occurring farmland birds of conservation interest.
Falco naumanni, landscape heterogeneity; Hay crop; Livestock; Pedology; Spatial scale
Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia
   Fostering the breeding rAnge expansion of central-eastern Mediterranean Lesser Kestrel pOpulatioNs (LIFE FALKON)
   LIFE FALKON
   EUROPEAN COMMISSION
   LIFE17 NAT/IT/000586
2023
Article (author)
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
999_2023_Assandri et al Agric Ecosyst Environ I.pdf

accesso riservato

Descrizione: Article
Tipologia: Publisher's version/PDF
Dimensione 7.17 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
7.17 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/957830
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 1
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 1
social impact