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Agricultural landscape composition as a driver of farmland bird diversity in Brittany (NW France)

Abstract : In agriculture-dominated landscapes, agricultural intensification and associated landscape homogenization have caused large declines in farmland biodiversity. This study was aimed at determining how agricultural landscape composition drives community diversity and composition of farmland birds in the characteristic bocage landscape in Brittany (NW France) on a broad scale. Using bird atlas data from the region (2004–2008; 10 x 10 km), we analyzed the importance of different components of agricultural landscape composition (types of crops, amount of semi-natural covers and elements, and artificial lands) on the alpha diversity and beta diversity of farmland birds of different functional groups, defined depending on the degree of farmland specialization and ecological requirements. Agricultural landscape composition features explained a small amount of variation in alpha and beta diversity, particularly for specialists and residents. Cereal crops were negatively correlated with alpha diversity of all the functional groups considered whereas rotational grasslands were negatively associated with migrant and insectivorous alpha diversity. Although shrublands are not common in Brittany, they were positively associated with the occurrence of some species and particularly with alpha diversity of all the functional groups but specialists and residents. At the spatial grain of analysis, community composition was mainly driven by a gradient of alteration of the bocage. To conclude, we claim for the consideration of regional idiosyncrasies in far-reaching planning schemes to prevent future biodiversity loss in agriculture-dominated landscapes due to agricultural intensification. In view of the observed large-scale trends gathered from atlas data analysis and the small amount of explained variation, we also advocate for subsequent finer scale bespoke surveys to determine the biodiversity status associated with the valuable bocage agricultural landscape.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 3:58:32 PM
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Assu Gil-Tena, Miquel De Cáceres, Aude Ernoult, Alain Butet, Lluis Brotons, et al.. Agricultural landscape composition as a driver of farmland bird diversity in Brittany (NW France). Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Elsevier Masson, 2015, 205, pp.79-89. ⟨10.1016/j.agee.2015.03.013⟩. ⟨hal-01140436⟩



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