Rapid recovery of a depleted population of Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax following provision of alfalfa through an agri-environment scheme

Vincent Bretagnolle, Alexandre Villers, Leopold Denonfoux, Thomas Cornulier, P. Inchausti, Isabelle Badenhausser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Little Bustard has undergone a steep reduction of its Western Palaearctic range over the last century. In the west of France, breeding populations declined by 96% from 1978 to 2008 in cultivated areas where grasslands have been converted into intensively managed annual crops. Little Bustard abundance and nest productivity have been monitored since 1995 in a 450-km2 site in western France. We assessed the proximate causes of the decline of Little Bustards in French farming landscapes and quantified the effectiveness of conservation measures that aimed to reverse the decline. The decline of Little Bustard, from about 65 males in 1995 to just six males in 2003, could be related to a near absence of recruitment over this period. Since 2004, the establishment of more than 1300 ha of specifically targeted agri-environment schemes (AES) in the study site has led to a sharp increase in female productivity, mainly associated with nesting in AES fields. By imposing constraints on mowing dates, AES have prevented nest destruction and female mortality during mowing and, by increasing plant species diversity, provided chicks with a higher abundance of grasshoppers. This has contributed to reversing the trend, and increasing the population to around 30 males in 2009. Conservation strategies involving specifically targeted AES based on the identification of limiting factors can help to reverse the decline of threatened species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-13
Number of pages10
JournalIbis
Volume153
Issue number1
Early online date6 Dec 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

Fingerprint

Otididae
alfalfa
mowing
nest
France
nests
productivity
grasshopper
grasshoppers
breeding population
threatened species
limiting factor
species diversity
farming systems
grasslands
chicks
grassland
mortality
crop
breeding

Keywords

  • agriculture
  • conservation
  • farmland birds
  • grasshoppers
  • grassland
  • Tetrax tetrax

Cite this

Rapid recovery of a depleted population of Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax following provision of alfalfa through an agri-environment scheme. / Bretagnolle, Vincent; Villers, Alexandre; Denonfoux, Leopold; Cornulier, Thomas; Inchausti, P.; Badenhausser, Isabelle.

In: Ibis, Vol. 153, No. 1, 01.2011, p. 4-13.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bretagnolle, Vincent ; Villers, Alexandre ; Denonfoux, Leopold ; Cornulier, Thomas ; Inchausti, P. ; Badenhausser, Isabelle. / Rapid recovery of a depleted population of Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax following provision of alfalfa through an agri-environment scheme. In: Ibis. 2011 ; Vol. 153, No. 1. pp. 4-13.
@article{8fc92c6296a6472caa6ed0f2d4585998,
title = "Rapid recovery of a depleted population of Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax following provision of alfalfa through an agri-environment scheme",
abstract = "The Little Bustard has undergone a steep reduction of its Western Palaearctic range over the last century. In the west of France, breeding populations declined by 96{\%} from 1978 to 2008 in cultivated areas where grasslands have been converted into intensively managed annual crops. Little Bustard abundance and nest productivity have been monitored since 1995 in a 450-km2 site in western France. We assessed the proximate causes of the decline of Little Bustards in French farming landscapes and quantified the effectiveness of conservation measures that aimed to reverse the decline. The decline of Little Bustard, from about 65 males in 1995 to just six males in 2003, could be related to a near absence of recruitment over this period. Since 2004, the establishment of more than 1300 ha of specifically targeted agri-environment schemes (AES) in the study site has led to a sharp increase in female productivity, mainly associated with nesting in AES fields. By imposing constraints on mowing dates, AES have prevented nest destruction and female mortality during mowing and, by increasing plant species diversity, provided chicks with a higher abundance of grasshoppers. This has contributed to reversing the trend, and increasing the population to around 30 males in 2009. Conservation strategies involving specifically targeted AES based on the identification of limiting factors can help to reverse the decline of threatened species.",
keywords = "agriculture, conservation, farmland birds, grasshoppers, grassland, Tetrax tetrax",
author = "Vincent Bretagnolle and Alexandre Villers and Leopold Denonfoux and Thomas Cornulier and P. Inchausti and Isabelle Badenhausser",
year = "2011",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1111/j.1474-919X.2010.01092.x",
language = "English",
volume = "153",
pages = "4--13",
journal = "Ibis",
issn = "0019-1019",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Rapid recovery of a depleted population of Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax following provision of alfalfa through an agri-environment scheme

AU - Bretagnolle, Vincent

AU - Villers, Alexandre

AU - Denonfoux, Leopold

AU - Cornulier, Thomas

AU - Inchausti, P.

AU - Badenhausser, Isabelle

PY - 2011/1

Y1 - 2011/1

N2 - The Little Bustard has undergone a steep reduction of its Western Palaearctic range over the last century. In the west of France, breeding populations declined by 96% from 1978 to 2008 in cultivated areas where grasslands have been converted into intensively managed annual crops. Little Bustard abundance and nest productivity have been monitored since 1995 in a 450-km2 site in western France. We assessed the proximate causes of the decline of Little Bustards in French farming landscapes and quantified the effectiveness of conservation measures that aimed to reverse the decline. The decline of Little Bustard, from about 65 males in 1995 to just six males in 2003, could be related to a near absence of recruitment over this period. Since 2004, the establishment of more than 1300 ha of specifically targeted agri-environment schemes (AES) in the study site has led to a sharp increase in female productivity, mainly associated with nesting in AES fields. By imposing constraints on mowing dates, AES have prevented nest destruction and female mortality during mowing and, by increasing plant species diversity, provided chicks with a higher abundance of grasshoppers. This has contributed to reversing the trend, and increasing the population to around 30 males in 2009. Conservation strategies involving specifically targeted AES based on the identification of limiting factors can help to reverse the decline of threatened species.

AB - The Little Bustard has undergone a steep reduction of its Western Palaearctic range over the last century. In the west of France, breeding populations declined by 96% from 1978 to 2008 in cultivated areas where grasslands have been converted into intensively managed annual crops. Little Bustard abundance and nest productivity have been monitored since 1995 in a 450-km2 site in western France. We assessed the proximate causes of the decline of Little Bustards in French farming landscapes and quantified the effectiveness of conservation measures that aimed to reverse the decline. The decline of Little Bustard, from about 65 males in 1995 to just six males in 2003, could be related to a near absence of recruitment over this period. Since 2004, the establishment of more than 1300 ha of specifically targeted agri-environment schemes (AES) in the study site has led to a sharp increase in female productivity, mainly associated with nesting in AES fields. By imposing constraints on mowing dates, AES have prevented nest destruction and female mortality during mowing and, by increasing plant species diversity, provided chicks with a higher abundance of grasshoppers. This has contributed to reversing the trend, and increasing the population to around 30 males in 2009. Conservation strategies involving specifically targeted AES based on the identification of limiting factors can help to reverse the decline of threatened species.

KW - agriculture

KW - conservation

KW - farmland birds

KW - grasshoppers

KW - grassland

KW - Tetrax tetrax

U2 - 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2010.01092.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2010.01092.x

M3 - Article

VL - 153

SP - 4

EP - 13

JO - Ibis

JF - Ibis

SN - 0019-1019

IS - 1

ER -