Monday, 12 May 2014

New Article: Indicators of the impact of land use changes using large-scale bird surveys: Land abandonment in a Mediterranean region

imageIn a new article recently published in Ecological Indicators, we developed a methodology to generate indicators capable to track the impact of land use changes in biodiversity using data from large scale monitoring projects. In particular we applied the proposed methodology to generate indicators to assess the impact that land abandonment has had in birds in Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula).

Generating sound indicators of biodiversity impact has been identified as a critical step towards our understanding of how global change components are affecting the environment across the globe. Land abandonment is recognized as a major component of global change in the Mediterranean basin, however, we lack adequate, quantitative, indicators of its impact on biodiversity. An appealing approach to develop biodiversity indicators is the use of large-scale bird monitoring projects, an important source of information that is already available in many countries. In this study we develop a method to quantify the impact of the two main processes associated with land abandonment in the Mediterranean region, namely the abandonment of farmland, which produces a shift from cultivated land to open natural habitats, and the encroachment by vegetation usually associated with reductions in livestock grazing and wood harvesting practices.

We used data from bird atlas and monitoring schemes in Catalonia (north-east Iberian Peninsula) to characterize species’ population response to these processes by means of detecting quantitative changes in relative abundances along a gradient ranging from habitats not affected by a given driving force to those that arise as a consequence of such force. We then generated multi-species indicators of the impact of these land use changes using these specific population responses to calibrate the relative contribution of each species in the composite index. The temporal patterns depicted by the two indicators in the period 2002–2011 show that vegetation encroachment did have a significant impact on bird communities, whereas any noticeable effect of farmland abandonment on bird populations was observed. The methodology proposed here could be employed to develop indicators capable to track biological impacts of land use change on an annual basis and inform decision-makers about the rate of increase or decrease on wildlife populations.


Nou article: Indicadors de l’impacte dels canvis en els usos del sòl utilitzant el monitoratge dels ocells a gran escala: l’abandonament de la terra en una regió mediterrània

En un nou article recentment publicat a la revista Ecological Indicators, hem desenvolupat una metodologia que, a partir de les dades de projectes de monitoratge a gran escala, genera indicadors que poden avaluar l'impacte que els canvis soferts en els usos del sòl produeixen en la biodiversitat. En particular, hem aplicat aquesta metodologia per avaluar l'impacte que l'abandonament de terres agrícoles i forestals ha tingut en els ocells a Catalunya en la darrera dècada. Els resultats d’aquest treball quantifiquen l’impacte significatiu que ha tingut el creixement progressiu de la vegetació als sistemes naturals del nostre país. Per contra, aquest treball no mostra un efecte significatiu de l’abandonament de l’activitat pròpiament agrícola.

Herrando, S, Anton, M, Sardà-Palomera, F., Bota, G., Gregory, R.D., Brotons, L. (2014). Indicators of the impact of land use changes using large-scale birdsurveys: Land abandonment in a Mediterranean region. Ecological Indicators 45 (2014) 235–244.


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