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Broyer J.,Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage ONCFS | Sukhanova O.,Russian Society for Bird Conservation and Study BirdsRussia | Mischenko A.,Russian Society for Bird Conservation and Study BirdsRussia
Bird Study | Year: 2014

Capsule: Improving habitat quality through late or intermittent mowing may increase passerine population density without reducing reproductive success. Aim: To describe the relationship between passerine territory density (TD) and Whinchat Saxicola rubetra and Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava hatching success, under different management regimes. Methods: TD was defined by the Territory Mapping method in nine sites selected in five French flood plains, in four intermittently mown meadows in Russia and in four additional French sites where mowing was partially postponed. Hatching success was assessed by the observation of prey carrying. Generalized Linear Mixed Models were used to analyse the influence on hatching rates of mowing management, early mowing and TD. Linear Mixed Models were used to study the effect of mowing management on TD. Results: In French early mown meadows, TD affected reproductive success. Higher hatching rates and TD were observed in Russia. Similar results in French study sites with postponed mowing confirmed the influence of mowing management on carrying capacity. Conclusion: In west-European grassland systems, late or intermittently mown patches within or at the edge of meadow areas, with potentially improved invertebrate-prey availability, should help to sustain bird demography and improve the efficiency of current conservation programmes. © 2014 British Trust for Ornithology.


Broyer J.,Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage ONCFS | Sukhanova O.,Russian Society for Bird Conservation and Study BirdsRussia | Mischenko A.,Russian Society for Bird Conservation and Study BirdsRussia
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2016

Two decades of agri-environmental policy did not prevent a long term decline of grassland birds in Europe. Additional measures are therefore needed to sustain the populations. This study explored alternative mowing management regimes likely to secure demographic sources in the early mown grassland systems of western Europe, and to limit habitat loss after farming abandonment in countries of the former Eastern Bloc. Postponing grass cutting until after mid-July from 2009 to 2014 in half of the area of 4 study sites (29-55. ha each) in the Saône Valley (France), led to increased territory density and improved hatching success. Bird response however was species-specific: Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra territory density benefited the most from the alternative management, Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava territory distribution tended to match the late mown areas, whereas the Whinchat Saxicola rubetra did not change its initial distribution. Temporary interruption of mowing in 8 meadow units (11.7-15.1. ha) of the Moskva Valley (Central Russia) was similarly correlated with higher territory density. Whinchat territory density decreased after one single year of mowing. After two consecutive years of mowing, Whinchat hatching success was lower and the Lesser Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola werae virtually disappeared. The tested alternative mowing regimes may therefore locally increase population density without negative density dependent effects on hatching rates. Implementing rotational mowing could reduce habitat loss caused by farming abandonment in Russia. Postponing mowing until after mid-July in patches of hay fields may sustain meadow bird demography in the remaining strongholds of western Europe. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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