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Substantial decline of Northern European peatland bird populations : Consequences of drainage

Fraixedas, Sara; Lindén, Andreas; Meller, Kalle; Lindström, Åke LU ; Keišs, Oskars; Kålås, John Atle; Husby, Magne; Leivits, Agu; Leivits, Meelis and Lehikoinen, Aleksi LU (2017) In Biological Conservation 214. p.223-232
Abstract

Northern European peatlands are important habitats for biological conservation because they support rich biodiversity and unique species compositions. However, historical management of peatland habitats has had negative consequences for biodiversity and their degradation remains a major conservation concern. Despite increasing awareness of the conservation value of peatlands, the statuses and ecological requirements of peatland species have remained largely understudied. Here, we first analysed temporal trends of Northern European peatland birds to document the status of their populations using bird data from five different countries. Second, we used Finnish monitoring data to assess habitat preferences of peatland bird species, hence... (More)

Northern European peatlands are important habitats for biological conservation because they support rich biodiversity and unique species compositions. However, historical management of peatland habitats has had negative consequences for biodiversity and their degradation remains a major conservation concern. Despite increasing awareness of the conservation value of peatlands, the statuses and ecological requirements of peatland species have remained largely understudied. Here, we first analysed temporal trends of Northern European peatland birds to document the status of their populations using bird data from five different countries. Second, we used Finnish monitoring data to assess habitat preferences of peatland bird species, hence helping to target conservation to the most relevant habitat types. There was a general decline of 40% in Northern European peatland bird population sizes in 1981–2014 (speed of decline 1.5%/year) largely driven by Finland, where populations declined almost 50% (2.0% annual decline). In Sweden and Norway, peatland bird populations declined by 20% during 1997–2014 (1.0% annual decline). In contrast, southern populations in Estonia and Latvia, where the majority of open peatlands are protected, showed a 40% increase during 1981–2014 (1.0% annual increase). The most important habitat characteristics preferred by common peatland species in Finland were openness and low tree height, while wetness proved to be an important feature for waders. Drainage of peatlands had clear negative effects on the densities of many species, with the only exception of rustic bunting, which specializes on edge habitats. Our findings call for more effective conservation actions in Northern European peatland habitats, especially in Finland where peatland drainage represents a major threat to biodiversity.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Bird biodiversity, Boreal peatlands, Ditching, Habitat loss, Protected areas
in
Biological Conservation
volume
214
pages
10 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85028547517
  • wos:000412788100024
ISSN
0006-3207
DOI
10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.025
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e291ed94-db8b-4499-a358-a4c75b9e64de
date added to LUP
2017-09-26 09:03:01
date last changed
2018-01-16 13:26:32
@article{e291ed94-db8b-4499-a358-a4c75b9e64de,
  abstract     = {<p>Northern European peatlands are important habitats for biological conservation because they support rich biodiversity and unique species compositions. However, historical management of peatland habitats has had negative consequences for biodiversity and their degradation remains a major conservation concern. Despite increasing awareness of the conservation value of peatlands, the statuses and ecological requirements of peatland species have remained largely understudied. Here, we first analysed temporal trends of Northern European peatland birds to document the status of their populations using bird data from five different countries. Second, we used Finnish monitoring data to assess habitat preferences of peatland bird species, hence helping to target conservation to the most relevant habitat types. There was a general decline of 40% in Northern European peatland bird population sizes in 1981–2014 (speed of decline 1.5%/year) largely driven by Finland, where populations declined almost 50% (2.0% annual decline). In Sweden and Norway, peatland bird populations declined by 20% during 1997–2014 (1.0% annual decline). In contrast, southern populations in Estonia and Latvia, where the majority of open peatlands are protected, showed a 40% increase during 1981–2014 (1.0% annual increase). The most important habitat characteristics preferred by common peatland species in Finland were openness and low tree height, while wetness proved to be an important feature for waders. Drainage of peatlands had clear negative effects on the densities of many species, with the only exception of rustic bunting, which specializes on edge habitats. Our findings call for more effective conservation actions in Northern European peatland habitats, especially in Finland where peatland drainage represents a major threat to biodiversity.</p>},
  author       = {Fraixedas, Sara and Lindén, Andreas and Meller, Kalle and Lindström, Åke and Keišs, Oskars and Kålås, John Atle and Husby, Magne and Leivits, Agu and Leivits, Meelis and Lehikoinen, Aleksi},
  issn         = {0006-3207},
  keyword      = {Bird biodiversity,Boreal peatlands,Ditching,Habitat loss,Protected areas},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  pages        = {223--232},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Biological Conservation},
  title        = {Substantial decline of Northern European peatland bird populations : Consequences of drainage},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.025},
  volume       = {214},
  year         = {2017},
}