Influence of habitat quality, landscape structure and food resources on breeding skylark (Alauda arvensis) territory distribution on restored landfill sites

Md Lutfor Rahman, Sam Tarrant, Duncan McCollin, Jeff Ollerton

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Abstract

The skylark (Alauda arvensis) lost half its number after it underwent a decade of rapid decline from the mid-1970s onwards and since then has continued to decline albeit at a reduced rate. Its listing as a UK Red-List and Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority Species has helped focus conservation action in an attempt to halt the decline and stabilise populations by restoring degraded habitats or by creating new habitats. Newly created grassland on restored landfill sites are semi-natural habitats that could potentially contribute to this process, however the extent to which these areas support breeding populations is unknown. Territory densities of breeding skylarks were studied on nine restored landfill sites in the East Midlands region of the UK during May to July 2008. The effects of restoration were investigated by examining how habitat quality, landscape factors and food resources determined territory densities. Mean vegetation height and size of sites were found to be significant predictors of the number of breeding skylarks at the local scale, whilst percentage of woodland, grassland and open habitat in the surrounding landscape had an influence at a larger scale. Mean larval and adult invertebrate abundance and species richness in skylark territories in restored landfill sites were found to be similar to that of reference sites of recognised nature conservation value. Restoration of landfill sites could be targeted toward species-specific goals since such sites could play a role in meeting targets for habitat and/or species restoration targets in the UK BAP
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-287
Number of pages7
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Volume105
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Bird
  • grassland
  • landfill site
  • red list species
  • landscape
  • skylark

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