Research: Could some farming practices benefit tropical birds?

  • Black-chinned mountain tanager, Anisognathus notabilis
    Photo
    James Gilroy/David Edwards et al/Current Biology 2015

Conversion of tropical forests to farms is a big driver of wildlife extinctions. But a new study from NMBU and collaborators shows that some farming practices have the potential to simultaneously protect natural habitats and boost farm yields.

Research: Could some farming practices benefit tropical birds?

One of the main drivers of extinction is habitat loss that arises when tropical rainforests are converted to farms -- a trend that is escalating at a dramatic rate. But are some farming practices less harmful to local birds and other wild animals? This was the question asked in a study recently published the journal Current Biology.

In this study, the authors recorded the overall diversity of bird species living on land-sharing cattle farms -- these appear to be wildlife-friendly because they include isolated trees and forest patches -- and compared it to land-sparing cattle farms that lack trees and forest patches and to neighbouring contiguous forest. The researchers found that land-sharing cattle farms retain less total bird biodiversity than do more intensive land-sparing cattle farms -- but only if the neighbouring contiguous forest is protected from human exploitation. Additionally, they found that overall avian biodiversity drops off faster for land-sharing cattle farms that are located farther away from contiguous forest.

Read more about the results in the Guardian (external link)

See bird gallery (external link)

Female white-bellied woodstar, Chaetocercus mulsant,

Female white-bellied woodstar, Chaetocercus mulsant,

Photo
James Gilroy/David Edwards et al/Current Biology 2015

Published 7. September 2015 - 11:58

Published 2. January 2017 - 15:22 - Updated 2. January 2017 - 15:22