The team, led by Dr Mark Whittingham of Newcastle University's School of Biology and partners*, suggest that current UK agri-environment schemes have worked well when targeted at the needs of such rare and localised species as corncrakes and stone curlews.
However, being able to reverse the declines of more widespread species such as skylarks and yellowhammers will depend on better matching of habitat management to the different landscapes in which these birds are found.
The new research, published in the current edition of the academic journal Ecology Letters, is based on a survey of 42 sites in England and Wales.
With the help of volunteer birdwatchers, researchers mapped the farmland environment at each site, and recorded the variety and number of nesting birds to see if there was any relationship between the two.
The team found there were variations from region to region, suggesting that agri-environment measures that were more carefully tailored to take account of this variation could be more successful.
Dr Whittingham said: “Previous research shows that although these schemes have reversed declines of rare species found only in limited areas, they have yet to prove capable of doing the same for more widespread species found in a variety of landscapes.”
“We believe the design and implementation of agri-environment schemes needs to be more sensitive to regional differences. A menu of management options which suits the needs of wildlife in Devon, for example, may not meet the needs of biodiversity in East Anglia,” added Dr Whittingham, who carried out much of the work while a researcher at Oxford University.
UK farmers can apply for money to the Government to run agri-environment schemes on their land, which are set up to maintain biodiversity of species and also to enhance and maintain the countryside environment generally.
European agri-environment schemes received 24 billion euros in funding from 1992 to 2003 and in England £123 million has been spent on one scheme alone so far (the Environmental Stewardship scheme - Entry Level Scheme).
A typical scheme may involve farmers planting and maintaining hedgerows, limiting pesticide use, providing seed supplies for birds over winter, and leaving uncultivated margins around fields to provide habitats for flowers and insects.
* Full list of partners: Newcastle University; University of Oxford; Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Cambridgeshire; British Trust for Ornithology; Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB); University of Sheffield.
Claire Jordan | alfa
Cascading use is also beneficial for wood
11.12.2017 | Technische Universität München
The future of crop engineering
08.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
12.12.2017 | Life Sciences