The conservation effects of meadow bird agreements on farmland in Zeeland, The Netherlands, in the period 1989-1995

D. Kleijn, G.J.C. van Zuijlen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Meadow bird agreements are the most important Dutch agri-environment schemes, both in terms of uptake and of aim. Meadow bird agreements postpone the first agricultural activities on grassland thus reducing egg and chick mortality due to mowing or grazing. We investigated the conservation effects of meadow bird agreements by analysing settlement densities of meadow birds on 34 fields in 1989, 1992 and 1995 in the province of Zeeland, The Netherlands. We compared territory numbers on fields with meadow bird agreements with paired nearby control fields that were conventionally managed. In 1995, the number of territories of black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) and the total number of meadow birds were significantly higher on fields with conservation management. These differences were partly caused by the higher quality (i.e. higher groundwater level) of fields with meadow bird agreements. Population trends were similar on fields with and without meadow bird agreements and the observed difference in settlement density in 1995 was already present in 1989. Furthermore the effectiveness of the scheme did not increase with time. Thus we found no conclusive evidence that the conservation measures themselves did result in higher territory numbers. Currently, we do not have sufficient ecological and behavioural knowledge of meadow birds to explain why the higher reproductive success does not result in higher settlement densities. Author Keywords: Author Keywords: Agri-environment schemes; Farmland birds; Waders; Groundwater level; Territory mapping
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-451
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • agri-environment scheme
  • breeding site-fidelity
  • natal philopatry
  • success
  • countryside
  • grasslands
  • management
  • uk/


Dive into the research topics of 'The conservation effects of meadow bird agreements on farmland in Zeeland, The Netherlands, in the period 1989-1995'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this