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Differential effects of local habitat and landscape characteristics on bird communities in Mediterranean afforestations motivated by the EU Common Agrarian Policy

AuthorsSánchez-Oliver, Juan S.; Rey Benayas, José M.; Carrascal, Luis M.
Issue Date2-Aug-2013
CitationEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research 60(1): 135-143 (2014)
AbstractWe investigated the effects of local habitat structure and surrounding landscape characteristics (proportion of land use types and connectedness) on species density and composition of bird communities inhabiting the interior of young tree plantations on former cropland in central Spain, which were motivated by the Common Agrarian Policy. Variation of species density (number of species/0.78 ha) among tree plantations showed different environmental associations across seasons: local habitat was more important than landscape characteristics during winter, whereas they were similarly important during spring. Species density increased with the development of the tree layer in winter and with the presence of urban areas around tree plantations and cover of the herbaceous layer within them in the breeding season. We identified 15 species that exhibit high relative abundance in woodland habitats within the Mesomediterranean region of Central Spain that were absent in both seasons in the studied tree plantations, which were an attractive habitat for urban exploiter species but an unfavorable habitat for the regional forest species pool except for forest generalist species. Composition of bird assemblages was more related to local habitat structure than to landscape characteristics around tree plantations and was rather similar in winter and spring seasons. The very different effects of local habitat and landscape characteristics on bird communities make difficult suggesting management practices with positive effects for all avifauna species during the entire year. We conclude that the small size and low maturity of the studied tree plantations do not contribute to enhancing the bird diversity value of current CAP aids to afforest former cropland with pines in the Mediterranean region. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s10344-013-0759-y
issn: 1612-4642
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