SAC # 99

Birds: Indicators for monitoring the environmental impact of agricultural management practices?



TIME | 11 November 2010, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | CSAFE Seminar Room, , Dunedin

SPEAKER | Catriona MacLeod (Landcare Research and ARGOS), Florian Weller (CSAFE), Henrik Moller (CSAFE)


In New Zealand, where production lands cover 58% of the land area, recent studies have also identified an ongoing and accelerating trend for agricultural intensification. However, neither the nature of this threat nor the extent of its impact on biodiversity is known, despite various calls for the development of a monitoring scheme that provides reliable biodiversity and environmental indicators of the impact of land use changes on native and introduced taxa. Here, we will first describe the design of a bird monitoring scheme, developed by the Agriculture Research Group on Sustainability (ARGOS), to quantify spatial and temporal variation in bird densities on 98 properties from three different agricultural sectors (sheep-beef, dairy and kiwifruit) in New Zealand during the breeding season. We then investigate how bird densities vary in relation to different land management practices (conventional, integrated and organic management) and habitat composition. Based on these findings, we assess the potential role of different birds as environmental indicators of land use change in New Zealand's agricultural landscape.

About the Speaker

Dr Catriona Macleod leads the ARGOS environmental research. She has 9 years of research experience concerning farmland ecology in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Dr Florian Weller has worked as a research assistant at CSAFE since he completed a PhD in 2009. His research has focussed mainly on a critical analysis of the value and optimal design of DISTANCE™ methods for estimating bird abundance on farms. Prof Henrik Moller, along with Dr Grant Blackwell (now at the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Environment), guided the overall design of the ARGOS environmental monitoring programme to which this bird monitoring work contributes.



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