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Title: Mismatches between habitat preferences and risk avoidance for birds in intensive Mediterranean farmland
Authors: Reino, Luis
Schindler, Stefan
Santana, Joana
Porto, Miguel
Morgado, Rui
Moreira, Francisco
Pita, Ricardo
Mira, António
Rotenberry, John
Beja, Pedro
Keywords: Corn bunting
Consevation Management
Ecological trap
Fan-tailed warbler
Galerida larks
Grassland birds
Nest predation
Short-toed lark
Tawny pit
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Springer - European Journal of Wildlife Research
Citation: Reino, L.; Schindler, S.; Santana, J.; Porto, M.; Morgado, R.; Moreira, F.; Pita, R.; Mira, A.; Rotenberry, J.T.; Beja, P. 2018. Mismatches between habitat preferences and risk avoidance for birds in intensive Mediterranean farmland. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 64:46. (DOI:
Abstract: Land use intensification may create habitats that organisms perceive as suitable, but where reproduction or survival is insufficient to maintain self-sustaining populations. Such conditions may qualify as ecological traps, but their existence is often hard to prove. Here, we provide a practical framework to evaluate a potential ecological trap resulting from mismatch between habitat preferences and predation risk, focusing on ground-nesting farmland birds of conservation concern. The framework is based on species-specific associations with safe or unsafe habitat types (i.e. field and landscape types with high or low nest survival), and the occurrence of risk avoidance (i.e. negative responses to predator abundances or to nest failure rates after controlling for habitat effects). Bird densities were far more influenced by field characteristics than landscape context. Corn bunting and fan-tailed warbler were associated with tall swards (safe habitats), and did not show risk avoidance. Tawny pipit and and Galerida larks were associated with short swards (unsafe habitats), with the former avoiding fields with high nest predation rates, and the later avoiding high mongoose abundances. Short-toed lark was associated with fields with short swards and low nest trampling rates. Results suggest that short-toed lark may be the most vulnerable to ecological trapping, because it nests on unsafe habitats and did not show predation risk avoidance. Our approach provides a practical first step to infer vulnerability to a potential ecological trap, though further research is needed to confirm this effect. Management actions increasing nest survival in short sward fields will likely favour grassland bird conservation in intensive Mediterranean farmland.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:MED - Publicações - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais Com Arbitragem Científica
BIO - Publicações - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais Com Arbitragem Científica

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