Avian Land-Use Associations in the Eastern Mediterranean

Ieronymidou, Christina (2012) Avian Land-Use Associations in the Eastern Mediterranean. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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          Land-use change and associated habitat loss and species invasions are two of the greatest threats
          to global biodiversity. In Europe, changes in farmland management practices driven in part by
          the European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have caused dramatic declines in
          associated biodiversity. This thesis studied avian land-use associations to understand the relative
          importance of different habitat and landscape elements to the farmland bird community, with
          particular emphasis on priority species for conservation, in Cyprus, a recently acceded EU
          Member State, as a case study for the eastern Mediterranean. Results provide the first evidence
          base to inform CAP agri-environment measures in the region. A wide range of habitats and
          land-uses were important for bird species and assemblages and local habitat diversity was of
          key value. Farmland habitats, particularly viticulture and groves, and remnant scrub were the
          most important, demonstrating the high value of heterogeneous farmland mosaics to breeding
          and wintering avian biodiversity in Cyprus. The area of land under agriculture in Cyprus has
          substantially decreased, with much of this attributable to declines in marginal low-intensity
          crops on which much avian biodiversity depends. Building development appears to be one
          important driver behind these trends. Changes observed in the distributions of Sardinian
          Warbler Sylvia melanocephala, a recently established breeder in Cyprus, and the endemic
          Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax are more likely mediated by changing land-use patterns
          relating to grazing intensity of scrub, as there was no evidence of competitive displacement. The
          complex Mediterranean farmland mosaic was created by traditional farming practices that are
          usually economically marginal. Agri-environment mechanisms to support this heterogeneity are
          necessary for effective conservation of priority species and bird biodiversity in the eastern

          Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
          Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
          Depositing User: Mia Reeves
          Date Deposited: 02 May 2013 10:20
          Last Modified: 02 May 2013 10:20
          URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/42330

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