Trade-offs between pasture production and farmland bird conservation: exploration of options using a dynamic farm model

R. Sabatier, F. Teillard, W.A.H. Rossing, L. Doyen, M. Tichit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In European grassland landscapes, grazing and mowing play a key role for the maintenance of high-quality habitats that host important bird populations. As grasslands are also key resources for cattle feeding, there is a need to develop management strategies that achieve the double objective of production and biodiversity conservation. The objective of this study was to use a modelling approach to generate recognisable patterns of bird dynamics in farms composed of different land use proportions, and to compare their production and ecological dimensions. We developed a dynamic model, which linked grassland management to bird population dynamics at the field and farm levels. The model was parameterised for two types of suckling farms corresponding to contrasting levels of grassland intensification and for two bird species of high conservation value. A viability algorithm was used to define and assess viable management strategies for production and ecological performance so as to draw the shape of the relationship between both types of performances for the two types of farms. Our results indicated that, at the farm level, there was a farming system effect with a negative and non-linear relationship linking performance. Improving bird population maintenance was less costly in extensive farms compared with intensive farms. At the field level, the model predicted the timing and intensity of land use, maximising either production or ecological performance. The results suggested that multi-objective grassland management would benefit from public policies that consider levels of organisation higher than the field level, such as the farm or the landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-907
JournalAnimal
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • grassland agroecosystem
  • viability model
  • management
  • biodiversity
  • heterogeneity
  • populations
  • habitat
  • waders

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