Scientists: Field feed belts significantly help birds and smaller mammals

Updates: 18.01.2022 12:06

Prague – Feed belts in the agricultural landscape significantly increase the number and species diversity of wild birds and small mammals. This follows from a study by a Czech-Polish team of scientists, which was announced today by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (AS). According to experts, there is still no data to show the real impact of biozones on different groups of animals during the winter. They have now been shown to benefit many animals. The biobelt is a strip food field six to 12 meters wide, which is located on the edge or inside the soil blocks.

“In our study, we examine the contribution of feed, seed-rich biozones to several taxa and species typical of the agricultural landscape, such as birds, hares, roe deer and small mammals during the winter, which is critical to the survival of many species due to food shortages. poor winter survival is often cited as one of the reasons for the decline in the number of some species of agricultural landscape, “said Martin Šálek from the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

Over the course of three years, the team mapped 76 biozones and the same number of control areas across different types of agricultural landscape in the Czech Republic. Research has shown that both species richness and abundance of wild birds, including declining species, hares and small mammals, were significantly higher in the biozones than in the surrounding agricultural landscape. According to experts, the only exception was roe deer, which did not show the effect of biozones.

The study also showed that most birds occurred in biozones around bushy corridors. However, the biggest differences in abundance and species diversity have been found by biotopes in the middle of field blocks – especially in the case of hares and small mammals. The team also found that in the second half of the winter, the number and diversity of birds in the biozones dropped significantly, which means that they stopped performing their function due to the depletion of supplies. The researchers also stressed that although the number of birds and mammals is generally higher in larger biozones, small ones are important for many species.

“Our study provides the first comprehensive and comprehensive verification of the effectiveness of different types of biozones on field biodiversity. The results show that they can be a relatively inexpensive and simple measure to support many species of birds, hares and small mammals and save them a lot of money. , but also more effective protection of declining species, “said Šálek.

In the future, according to him, it is important to focus on the appropriate selection of seeds for sowing these biozones in order to increase the supply of seeds during the second half of winter. “We also recommend establishing biozones in lowland areas, where there are mostly large fields without other landscape features, such as draws, alleys, grassy borders or bushy corridors,” the scientist added.

According to the AV, farmers rarely introduce biozones at present, although they can be relatively easily established or removed by plowing. In the Czech Republic, biozones are only 0.09 percent of field blocks and in each they cover only a few percent of arable land.

studied published časopis Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment.

Source: České noviny – hlavní události by

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