Quantifying the impact of land-use change to European farmland bird populations

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  • Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 137 (2010) 348357

    Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment

    journa l homepage: www.e lsev ier .co

    Quanti Eurbird po

    S.J. Butle orria Centre for Agr Readinb The Royal Socc European Bird ordshid Czech Society

    a r t i c l

    Article history:Received 6 November 2009Received in revised form 3 March 2010Accepted 5 March 2010Available online 2 April 2010

    Keywords:Agricultural inAgri-environmEuropean FarmLand abandonRisk assessme

    The EU has adopted the European Farmland Bird Index (EFBI) as a Structural and Sustainable Develop-ment Indicator and a proxy for wider biodiversity health on farmland. Changes in the EFBI over comingyears are likely to reect how well agri-environment schemes (AES), funded under Pillar 2 (Axis 2) ofthe Common Agricultural Policy, have been able to offset the detrimental impacts of past agriculturalchanges and deliver appropriate hazard prevention or risk mitigation strategies alongside current andfuture agricultural change. The delivery of a stable or positive trend in the EFBI will depend on the pro-

    1. Introdu

    The acce(EU) in 20060million hAgriculturaremains thethe structuprices and iof agricultu(the rst 151998; MacDand managethe agricult

    CorresponE-mail add

    0167-8809/$ doi:10.1016/j.tensicationent schemeland Bird Index


    vision of sufcient funding to appropriately designed and implemented AES. We present a trait-basedframework which can be used to quantify the detrimental impact of land-use change on farmland birdpopulations across Europe. We use the framework to show that changes in resource availability withinthe cropped area of agricultural landscapes have been the key driver of current declines in farmlandbird populations. We assess the relative contribution of each Member State to the level of the EFBI andexplore the relationship between risk contribution and Axis 2 funding allocation. Our results suggestthat agricultural changes in each Member State do not have an equal impact on the EFBI, with land-useand management change in Spain having a particularly large inuence on its level, and that funding ispoorly targeted with respect to biodiversity conservation needs. We also use the framework to predictthe EFBI in 2020 for a number of land-use change scenarios. This approach can be used to guide boththe development and implementation of targeted AES and the objective distribution of Pillar 2 fundsbetween and within Member States. We hope that this will contribute to the cost-effective and efcientdelivery of Rural Development strategy and biodiversity conservation targets.

    2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    ssion of 10 new Member States to the European Union4 and a further two in 2007 brought approximatelya more farmland under the governance of the CommonlPolicy (CAP). CAPcame into force in theearly1960sandmain agricultural policy tool of the EU. Until recently,

    re of CAP created a protected market with guaranteedt was the driving force behind both the intensicationre and land abandonment that has occurred in the EU15Member States of the EU) over recent decades (Bignal,onald et al., 2000; Donald et al., 2002). These land-usement changes, and associated losses of resources fromural landscape, have led to widespread and signicant

    ding author. Tel.: +44 0 118 3786026; fax: +44 0 118 3786067.ress: s.j.butler@reading.ac.uk (S.J. Butler).

    declines of farmland birds and other wildlife (Fuller et al., 1995;Matson et al., 1997; Green et al., 2005; Gregory et al., 2005). Despitethe introduction of the Single Payment Schemeunder the 2003 CAPreforms, which decoupled payments to farmers from productionlevels, there is great concern that accession and exposure to CAPcould result in losses of agricultural biodiversity in the new Mem-ber States similar to those recorded in the EU15 (EEA, 2004; Donaldet al., 2006). This is of particular concern because farmland in thenewly joined Member States, mostly former communist countriesof central and eastern Europe, supports internationally importantpopulations of many species (Hagemeijer and Blair, 1997; BirdLifeInternational, 2004).

    The EU has set a target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010(European Council, 2001) and, in adopting the European Farm-land Bird Index (EFBI) as a Structural and Sustainable DevelopmentIndicator, identied farmland bird trends as a proxy for widerbiodiversity health on farmland. This indicator, based on data col-lected under the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme

    see front matter 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.agee.2010.03.005fying the impact of land-use change topulations

    ra,, L. Boccacciob, R.D. Gregoryc, P. Vorisekd, K. Ni-Environment Research, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University ofiety for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, UKCensus Council & The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedffor Ornithology, Na Belidle 34, CZ-150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic

    e i n f o a b s t r a c tm/locate /agee

    opean farmland


    g, Reading RG6 6AR, UK

    re SG19 2DL, UK

  • S.J. Butler et al. / Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 137 (2010) 348357 349

    (PECBMS: http://www.ebcc.info/pecbm.html), shows that farm-land bird populations have nearly halved across Europe since 1980.Given that farmland of one kind or another comprises approx-imately 50% of the European land surface, managing the likelyagriculturaldicted chanfactors suchbio-energyabandonme2006), willsity goal. Indifferent prloss of graz(AES), undeenvironmenrepresent thand prevenareas (Vickgrammes h2078/92) anwithin allFunding forponent (Pilat D87bn fofunding is dcultural arehave a highthese fundsinclude AESness of agrof life in rrural econospecicallymay not rethe EFBI ovwhich AESof past agriloss and totion strategThe deliverto dependimplementalation decli2003; Butletribution ofensure thatnicant prosupport.

    Butler eframeworkon biodivershowed thadicted by akey resourcwork to iddeclines insources ofmitigationLevel Stewacan be usefarmland bassess the rdata to theships, we gchange sce2020.

    2. Methods

    2.1. Calculation of EFBI

    PECs (Greropea, BeUni

    ry &culatuenttione Inton trela

    in eated atricmtionsird Cpactscoun2005nd n


    undds foeen pline meciesnmenof thd by tlandrisk

    s. Firscieser anThesose wsice avspecwe agnieliankedndenreliang spre careliareliantaryterins clatswgranWinentiprec

    t avachanges in newly joined Member States and the pre-ges in land-use patterns across Europe, driven byas climate change, the introduction and expansion of

    crops, modernisation, specialisation and further landnt (MacDonald et al., 2000; Rounsevell et al., 2005,be fundamental to achieving this broader biodiver-this context, land abandonment can be the result ofocesses and drivers in different regions, including aing or active afforestment. Agri-environment schemesr which farmers are paid to protect and enhance thet and to preserve landscape and historical features,e main available mechanism to mitigate such impacts

    t or reduce declines in farmland biodiversity over largeery et al., 2004). Funding for agri-environment pro-as been available under CAP since 1992 (EEC Regulationd the provision of such schemes became compulsory

    EU countries in 2003 (Kleijn and Sutherland, 2003).AES is provided under the Rural Development com-

    lar 2) of the CAP, the budget for which has been setr the 20072013 programming period. Whilst Pillar 2istributed between Member States according to agri-a, agricultural employment and GDP, Member Stateslevel of exibility with regard to the allocation of

    across a range of rural development measures whichbut also cover measures for increasing competitive-

    icultural and forestry sectors, improving the qualityural areas and supporting the diversication of themy. As a consequence, the actual allocation of fundsto AES is extremely low in some Member States andect the health of farmland biodiversity. Changes iner coming years are likely to reect the extent to

    have been able to both offset the detrimental impactscultural changes that are driving current biodiversitydeliver appropriate hazard prevention or risk mitiga-ies alongside current and future agricultural change.y of a stable or positive trend in the EFBI is likelyrstly on the successful and cost-effective design andtion of AES that target the key drivers of bird popu-nes in agricultural landscapes (Kleijn and Sutherland,r et al., 2007) and, secondly, on the appropriate dis-Pillar 2 funds between and within Member States toschemes with the potential to deliver resources to sig-portions of farmland bird populations receive greater

    t al. (2007) published a trait-based risk assessmentcapable of predicting the impacts of agricultural changesity. Using UK farmland birds as a model system, theyt a species response to land-use change could be pre-ssessing the impact of that change on the speciese requirements. Furthermore, they used this frame-entify the main drivers of farmland bird populationthe UK and identied a clear disparity between the

    risk in the agricultural landscape and patterns of riskdelivery through the agri-environment scheme Entry-rdship (ELS). Here we show that a similar approachd to assess the impacts of agricultural change onird population trends at a pan-European scale andelative inuence of the twenty countries that provideEFBI on its current level. Based on these relation-o on to model the likely impacts of four land-use

    narios on farmland bird populations and the EFBI to

    Thespeciefour Eu(Austriland &Hungaare calconstitpopulaBirdLifbasedon thefoundcalculageomecalculapean Bthe imthe 20EFBI in2004 a

    2.2. Qu

    Themethohave bing onx to spenviromentsdeneon farmoped aspecie54 spesumm1998).and thtat clasdata arlist ofWhilstvary sitheir rfore asindepeminorbreedirisk scohigherof theplemeof winspeciemigranfull mi1998).were idon theare noBMS generates national population indices for 135 birdgoryet al., 2005, 2007, 2008). Supra-national indices foran regions, North (Finland, Norway & Sweden), Westlgium, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Switzer-ted Kingdom), East (Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia,Poland) and South (France, Italy, Portugal & Spain),ed as the weighted average of a species trend in thecountries; trends are weighted by relative breedingsize of each bird species in each country (taken fromernational, 2004). Pan-European trends are calculatedhe weighted average of regional trends, again basedtive proportion of the European breeding populationch region. Multi-species indices, such as the EFBI, aret a regional or pan-European scale by calculating theean of contributing species trends. Full details of trendcan be found in Gregory et al. (2005) or on the Euro-

    ensus Council website (www.ebcc.info). Our analyses ofof land-use change on farmland bird populations covertries that contributed bird population trend data to the; a new monitoring scheme was initiated in Bulgaria in

    ow contributes to the PECBMS.

    fying risk in current agricultural landscapes

    erlying structure of the risk assessment framework andr quantifying risks associated with land-use changeublished in detail (see Butler et al., 2007 and support-aterial (SOM)). In brief, the risk of agricultural changey is dened as the degree of coincidence between thetal impacts of that change and the resource require-

    at species, adjusted for the species ecological resilience,he breadth of its resource requirements and its reliancefor those resources. Using these denitions, we devel-assessment framework for European farmland bird

    tly, we constructed a resource requirements matrix forby gathering data on their summer and winter diets,d winter foraging habitat and nest site location (Cramp,e 54 species include all those contributing to the EFBIith agriculture/grassland listed as one of their habi-

    ations in Tucker and Evans (1997) for which sufcientailable to generate pan-European population trends. Aies included in our analyses is provided in the SOM.ssumed that species resource requirements would notcantly between countries, it was considered likely thatce on farmland for these resources might. We there-a number of ornithological experts in each country totly score species as having either a major, moderate ornce on farmland habitat or as not being present as aecies. The modal response for each country was used inlculations. If two categories received equal support thence category of the twowas used in calculations. Detailsnce scores provided are presented Tables S1S4, Sup-data in the SOM. The migration strategy and location

    g grounds of each species were also determined, withssied as being either resident, partial migrants, fullith part or all of their population remaining in Europe orts with over-wintering grounds outside Europe (Cramp,tering grounds of migrant species remaining in Europeed at a regional rather than country level because dataise wintering locations for most breeding populationsilable.

  • 350 S.J. Butler et al. / Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 137 (2010) 348357

    Table 1Main environmental impacts, likely to have adverse population scale effects on farmland birds, of the six components of agricultural intensi-cation and two components of agricultural abandonment used in the risk assessment framework validation process. S, summer; W, winter.

    Component of agricultural intensication Key impactsa

    of croof croof cro

    of maof hedof maof hed

    of croof croof cro

    of maof croof croof maof maof maof hedof ma

    of croced n

    of croof croof croof croof croced n

    of croof cro

    of croof cro


    2.3. Validat

    2.3.1. Compabandonme

    To validwidespreadnicant detrecent decaet al., 2006;foraging haing successagriculturaling, increasland drainadensities grassland a

    2.3.2. Risk sTo ree

    habitat andrisk score focalculated teach specie1). Individuto the wintare exposedthey over-wbreeding poing their popotential wSpring to autumn sowing LossLossLoss

    Loss on non-cropped habitat LossLossLossLoss

    Increased agrochemical inputs LossLossLoss

    Land drainage LossLossLossLossLossLossLossLoss

    Switch from hay to silage and earlierharvesting


    Intensied grassland management LossLossLossLossLossRedu

    Loss of semi-natural grassland LossLoss

    Afforestation LossLoss

    a Crop refers to croppedareas of the landscape rather than the actual crop itself, and hedge refers to structural vegetation elements in the landscape such as hedgion of the risk assessment framework

    onents of agricultural intensication and landntate the framework, we assessed the impact of eightland-useandmanagement changes, knowntohave sig-rimental impacts on farmland birds across Europe overdes (Laiolo et al., 2004; Donald et al., 2006; WretenbergReif et al., 2008), for their impact on food abundance,

    bitat availability, nesting habitat availability and nest-(Table 1). Six of these changes are associated withintensication switch from spring to autumn sow-

    ed agrochemical inputs, loss of non-cropped habitats,ge, the switch from hay to silage and increased stockingand two w...


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