Functional space and the population dynamics of birds in agro-ecosystems

Simon J. Butler, Ken Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Managing resource availability in landscapes is a key focus of biodiversity conservation action. Continued biodiversity losses suggest that current actions are inadequate, with better targeting required to ensure resource provision offsets resource deficits. This study uses the concept of functional cover types to establish links between land-use, resource availability and population dynamics. Using UK farmland birds as a model system, the links between local population dynamics and functional space (FS) composition, and the role of landscape context in modifying these relationships, are explored. The population trends of all 19 species considered were more positive or less negative in squares with greater areas of one or more FS components. Counter-intuitively, negative relationships between population trends and FS were also common. Conspecific abundance in the surrounding landscape was also identified as being an important driver of population dynamics, both directly and through its influence on the relationship with each FS component. Targeted conservation management is needed to address the very context-specific nature of local population change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-208
Number of pages9
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
Early online date8 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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