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Birds as Useful Indicators of High Nature Value Farmlands: Using Species Distribution Models as a Tool for Monitoring the Health of Agro-Ecosystems

By: Federico Morelli(Editor), Piotr Tryjanowski(Editor)

120 pages, 35 colour photos and illustrations, 8 b/w illustrations, tables


Hardback | Feb 2017 | #234372 | ISBN-13: 9783319502823
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £109.99 $143/€125 approx

About this book

Birds as Useful Indicators of High Nature Value Farmlands helps to establish a simple framework to identify and use bird species as bioindicator for high nature values (HNV) farmlands. HNV farming is present in all European countries, with a diversity of types and extensions. The need for measures to prevent the loss and monitoring in real time of the quality of HNV areas and to mitigate the loss of biodiversity is widely recognized, but requires urgent attention. One of the reasons is due to the deep differences between agro ecosystems of Central-Eastern and Western Europe, differences that can explain the lack of achievements of several conservation policies, and later also in practice. Some recent studies showed how agri-environmental measures adopted in the countries of European Community may be ineffective in order to guarantee the stop on biodiversity in some intensive farmland. However more studies focusing strategies to increase the effectiveness of agri-environmental measures for conservation are necessaries.

The editors focus their studies on suitable methods for monitoring HNV areas, presenting the results of some case studies. Birds as Useful Indicators of High Nature Value Farmlands proposes to integrate ecosystems assessment, geographical information systems (GIS) and strategies for conservation of local biodiversity. The proposed framework is focused on the use of species distribution models (SDMs) in order to explore the importance of each characteristic of HNV farmlands. Additionally, we examine the relationships among bird species richness, land use diversity and landscape metrics at a local scale in the farmlands.

An innovative framework is suggested to develop models, using the HNV farmlands as response variable and the presence or abundance of a set of few common bird species as covariates. Finally, by performing traditional SDMs on the bird species selected during the first step it becomes possible to study which characteristics of farmlands are driven the distribution of these species indicators. These results encourage the possibility to accurately identify the HNV farmland by the presence of just few common bird species, and then the possibility to monitor it with a cost-effective instrument, even linking lay people to programs based on citizen science.

"[...] Although this is a highly niche area, the focus on methods and real-world applications make this a useful book for those working in this specific area."
– Anne Goodenough, BES Bulletin, 49(1)


1. Introduction
2. Spread of the concept of HNV farmland in Europe: A systematic review
3. Identifying HNV areas using Geographic Information Systems and landscape metrics
4. Suitable methods to monitoring the HNV farmland using bird species

5. Bird as indicators of HNV: Case study in farmlands from Central Italy
6. Birds as indicators of HNV: Case study in Portuguese cork oak montados
7. Using IndVal to identify bird indicators of HNV in farmlands from Western Poland

8. Discussion and final considerations

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