Advanced

Temporal changes in habitat quality for the tawny pipit (Anthus campestris) in southern Sweden

Uchoa Okuyama, Fernanda Yukie (2018) BION02 20172
Degree Projects in Biology
Abstract
The tawny pipit (Anthus campestris) is a migrant bird adapted to dry, sandy habitats. In southern Sweden, land use changes have resulted in a reduction of suitable areas, affecting the birds’ population size. The SandLife Project was created with the goal to restore those sandy grasslands and improve local conditions to stimulate the recovery of biodiversity. In order to compare the current and the past habitat conditions, when the bird population was higher in 1983, aerial images were analysed together with data on the number of male tawny pipits surveyed by the project. Out of the 37 locations, 27 experienced a reduction in sandy areas compared to the original area in 1983, and 27 had a decrease in the general potential habitat area.... (More)
The tawny pipit (Anthus campestris) is a migrant bird adapted to dry, sandy habitats. In southern Sweden, land use changes have resulted in a reduction of suitable areas, affecting the birds’ population size. The SandLife Project was created with the goal to restore those sandy grasslands and improve local conditions to stimulate the recovery of biodiversity. In order to compare the current and the past habitat conditions, when the bird population was higher in 1983, aerial images were analysed together with data on the number of male tawny pipits surveyed by the project. Out of the 37 locations, 27 experienced a reduction in sandy areas compared to the original area in 1983, and 27 had a decrease in the general potential habitat area. Only one location showed an increase in both areas and in the number of males. Contrary to expectations, statistical analysis showed no significant influence of sand area on the number of males (p=0.983), but showed that the grassland, bush area, and the size of the whole potential habitat play a more important role (p=0.038; p=0.000 and p=0.002, respectively) than the presence of agricultural land (p=0.064). These findings suggest that grasses and bushes are important indicators of habitat quality for tawny pipits: the presence of short vegetation is favourable, while bushes are not. Therefore, it is important to keep management implementations running in order to provide and maintain suitable habitats for these birds. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Habitat quality over the years for the tawny pipit in southern Sweden

The tawny pipit (Anthus campestris) is a migrant bird adapted to open and sandy habitats that comes to Sweden during the breeding season. Those environments are located inland and along the coast, but due to human activities such as afforestation, expansion of urban areas and overall land use change, they are disappearing, affecting the bird population. Inventories conducted in the past recorded the number of birds, and those data were compared to the recent survey in combination with aerial images in order to compare habitat qualities.

To find out what makes a good quality habitat for the tawny pipit, we used data of surveys conducted by SandLife -- a project... (More)
Habitat quality over the years for the tawny pipit in southern Sweden

The tawny pipit (Anthus campestris) is a migrant bird adapted to open and sandy habitats that comes to Sweden during the breeding season. Those environments are located inland and along the coast, but due to human activities such as afforestation, expansion of urban areas and overall land use change, they are disappearing, affecting the bird population. Inventories conducted in the past recorded the number of birds, and those data were compared to the recent survey in combination with aerial images in order to compare habitat qualities.

To find out what makes a good quality habitat for the tawny pipit, we used data of surveys conducted by SandLife -- a project created in 2012 with the aim of restoring sandy grasslands and improve local conditions to stimulate the recovery of biodiversity. This bird data provided coordinates for surveyed locations and the number of singing males; combined with aerial images from 1975 and 2014, local analysis were performed in each site, resulting in measures of sand, grass, bushes and cultivation land. The potential habitat for this bird was also calculated.

Out of the 37 locations, only 10 experienced an increase in sand areas in relation to the same area in the past, and only one site experienced an increase in both sand area and number of males. Surprisingly, statistical analysis showed no significant influence in the number of birds (p = 0.983), but showed that the presence of grasses and bushes are important indicators of habitat quality, as the size of the potential habitat area. After the project’s restoration actions, 40 home ranges were reported in 2017, 20% higher than in 2013.
What does it mean?
It was expected that suitable areas would have more open sand and grass, and less closed vegetation and agricultural lands. The tawny pipit is a bird that lives in open, sandy areas, and that builds its nest on the ground, hiding it in low vegetation. Denser vegetation like bushes and shrubs reduce the amount of sand and even changes the local microclimate and soil composition, affecting the insects that are part of the bird’s diet. Although we could not find a significant influence from the sand and the cultivation lands, we could conclude that the presence of low vegetation is positive, while shrubs and bushes have a negative impact.

Although not all areas were included in the SandLife projects restoration areas, it is possible to say that the project was successful in achieving its goal of restoring the sandy environments, since there has been an increase in the number of home ranges of tawny pipits in southern Sweden in the past year. Habitat loss is possibly the main cause of the decrease in this bird population, therefore it is important now to make sure that management measures keep being implemented so those habitats keep existing and expanding, and the tawny pipit can continue to breed in Swedish lands.

Master’s Degree Project in Biology, Conservation Biology 120 credits 2018
Department of Biology, Lund University

Advisor: Pål Axel Olsson
Advisors Unit/Department: Department of Biology, Lund University. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Uchoa Okuyama, Fernanda Yukie
supervisor
organization
course
BION02 20172
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
8958623
date added to LUP
2018-09-13 12:03:30
date last changed
2018-09-13 12:03:30
@misc{8958623,
  abstract     = {The tawny pipit (Anthus campestris) is a migrant bird adapted to dry, sandy habitats. In southern Sweden, land use changes have resulted in a reduction of suitable areas, affecting the birds’ population size. The SandLife Project was created with the goal to restore those sandy grasslands and improve local conditions to stimulate the recovery of biodiversity. In order to compare the current and the past habitat conditions, when the bird population was higher in 1983, aerial images were analysed together with data on the number of male tawny pipits surveyed by the project. Out of the 37 locations, 27 experienced a reduction in sandy areas compared to the original area in 1983, and 27 had a decrease in the general potential habitat area. Only one location showed an increase in both areas and in the number of males. Contrary to expectations, statistical analysis showed no significant influence of sand area on the number of males (p=0.983), but showed that the grassland, bush area, and the size of the whole potential habitat play a more important role (p=0.038; p=0.000 and p=0.002, respectively) than the presence of agricultural land (p=0.064). These findings suggest that grasses and bushes are important indicators of habitat quality for tawny pipits: the presence of short vegetation is favourable, while bushes are not. Therefore, it is important to keep management implementations running in order to provide and maintain suitable habitats for these birds.},
  author       = {Uchoa Okuyama, Fernanda Yukie},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Temporal changes in habitat quality for the tawny pipit (Anthus campestris) in southern Sweden},
  year         = {2018},
}