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: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 02 May 2013 09:20
Last Modified: 02 May 2013 09:20
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/42330

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