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      Highly disparate bird assemblages in sugarcane and pastures: implications for bird conservation in agricultural landscapes

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          Abstract

          Sugarcane and cattle pastures are two of the most widespread and economically important agricultural landscapes. However, in Brazil, they have not been properly investigated for their importance to native birds and wildlife conservation. Thus, we aim to characterize and compare bird assemblages of sugarcane and cattle pastures; and understand how landscape features within both habitats influence bird assemblages. We surveyed birds in both agricultural habitats over one year, and then investigated the relationship between species richness and composition with landscape diversity, matrix permeability, and the size and distribution of natural forests close to both habitats. We observed 132 species in cattle pastures and only 72 in sugarcane (48% bird community similarity). We further evaluated the richness and relative abundance of avian ecological groups, including habitat specialists and habitat generalists, insectivores, omnivores, granivores and frugivores. All avian groups were higher in pastures, the habitat where landscape heterogeneity and number of scattered trees was higher. Our results show that overall increasing landscape heterogeneity favors an assemblage with higher richness and composed by species with more diverse ecological functions. Therefore, we argue in favor of management practices that incorporate heterogeneity in agricultural landscapes, mainly in sugarcane fields where a homogeneous scheme has been used. Otherwise, the potential of agricultural landscapes for bird conservation will be highly hindered, particularly if the sugarcane sector expands to other agricultural lands.

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          Most cited references 53

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          Reconciling food production and biodiversity conservation: land sharing and land sparing compared.

          The question of how to meet rising food demand at the least cost to biodiversity requires the evaluation of two contrasting alternatives: land sharing, which integrates both objectives on the same land; and land sparing, in which high-yield farming is combined with protecting natural habitats from conversion to agriculture. To test these alternatives, we compared crop yields and densities of bird and tree species across gradients of agricultural intensity in southwest Ghana and northern India. More species were negatively affected by agriculture than benefited from it, particularly among species with small global ranges. For both taxa in both countries, land sparing is a more promising strategy for minimizing negative impacts of food production, at both current and anticipated future levels of production.
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            Functional landscape heterogeneity and animal biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.

            Biodiversity in agricultural landscapes can be increased with conversion of some production lands into 'more-natural'- unmanaged or extensively managed - lands. However, it remains unknown to what extent biodiversity can be enhanced by altering landscape pattern without reducing agricultural production. We propose a framework for this problem, considering separately compositional heterogeneity (the number and proportions of different cover types) and configurational heterogeneity (the spatial arrangement of cover types). Cover type classification and mapping is based on species requirements, such as feeding and nesting, resulting in measures of 'functional landscape heterogeneity'. We then identify three important questions: does biodiversity increase with (1) increasing heterogeneity of the more-natural areas, (2) increasing compositional heterogeneity of production cover types and (3) increasing configurational heterogeneity of production cover types? We discuss approaches for addressing these questions. Such studies should have high priority because biodiversity protection globally depends increasingly on maintaining biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.
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              Finer resolution observation and monitoring of global land cover: first mapping results with Landsat TM and ETM+ data

               Peng Gong,  Jie Wang,  Le Yu (2013)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Neotropical Biology and Conservation
                NBC
                Pensoft Publishers
                2236-3777
                July 15 2019
                July 15 2019
                : 14
                : 2
                : 169-194
                Article
                10.3897/neotropical.14.e37602
                © 2019

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