Modernized farmsteads directly affect farmland birds

Modernized farmsteads directly affect farmland birds

The decline of farmland biodiversity continues at a warning rate. Most recently discovered hotpots of farmland birds are farmsteads. Due to this fact, scientists from the Academy of Czech Republic studied the effect of the modernization of such buildings. They researched 97 dairy farms in the Czech Republic. The focus of the study was on the abundance, species richness and nest abundance of 29 farmland bird species. The findings have shown that modernized farms host three-fold fewer birds than traditional farmsteads. Likewise, new farms are not as rich in species as the older buildings. Consequently, the abundance of old nests of species such as barn swallow, house martins and house sparrow were low. The decline may be a consequence of farmstead modernization.

In contrast to traditional farmsteads, new buildings are built from wooden or steel materials, which are not appropriate for nesting sites because of low nest support and stability. They also lack attic space or holes where birds could nest. At modernized farms, the organic bedding is frequently replaced with sand or concrete material, which does not allow the development of insect food sources for birds. Simultaneously, there are often placed ventilators that do not provide suitable conditions for insects resting in modernized farms.

In conclusion, the scientist assessed that the primary cause for a decline in farmland species is the modernization of farmsteads. It presents a limitation in their nesting and feeding quality. The process of modernization of farms is allowed through the schemes of the European Union, which conflict with the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. They recommend installing compulsory measures to improve the nesting and foraging opportunities, such as nest boxes, nesting bricks or return to organic bedding. Simultaneously, they aim to enhance awareness of the problems and support extensive small farmsteads that create suitable habitats for farmland bird species.

You can find more information in ŠÁLEK, Martin a MAYER, Martin (2022).

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