Section: Ecology
Topic: Ecology, Environmental sciences

Use of linear features by red-legged partridges in an intensive agricultural landscape: implications for landscape management in farmland

10.24072/pcjournal.368 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article no. e15.

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Current agricultural practices and change are the major cause of biodiversity loss. An important change associated with the intensification of agriculture in the last 50 years is the spatial homogenization of the landscape with substantial loss of such biodiversity-rich elements as seminatural linear features (hedgerows, field margins, grassy strips, etc.). In Europe, some management prescriptions serve to increase heterogeneity by the creation of these seminatural linear features which are not being used primarily for agricultural production. However, these elements are not equal in their support for biodiversity according to their structure and composition. The aim of this study is to determine the importance of landscape heterogeneity and specifically linear features on the spatial distribution of red-legged partridges, a small game species in decline in Europe. Through GPS-monitoring of adult birds, we first assess home range size throughout the year and during the breeding season, in relation to breeding status and to linear features (seminatural linear vegetation and tracks-roads for human traffic) density. Then, we focus on habitat selection during the breeding period in relation to linear features. We found that linear elements shape the use of space by red-legged partridges according to their reproductive status. Traffic routes and seminatural features structured by both herbaceous and woody cover, negatively influenced home range size. Further, breeding birds select linear elements with herbaceous cover while non-breeders select linear elements with woody cover, underlining the different needs of birds according to their breeding status. All birds selected areas near tracks, but non-breeders seemed to avoid roads. This study shows the importance for this species of the linear components that structure the agricultural landscape. We propose recommendations to promote the presence of the red-legged partridge in this agricultural environment but also of the biodiversity in general.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.368
Type: Research article
Keywords: Farmland bird, intensive agriculture, selection habitat, semi-natural linear element

Perrot, Charlotte 1; Seranne, Léo 1; Berceaux, Antoine 2; Noël, Mathias 2; Arroyo, Beatriz 3; Bacon, Léo 1

1 Office français de la biodiversité, Service Anthropisation et fonctionnement des écosystèmes terrestres, 34990, Juvignac, France
2 Fédération régionale des Chasseurs d'Occitanie, 31390 Carbonne, France
3 Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC, CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), 13071, Ciudad Real, Spain
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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Perrot, Charlotte; Seranne, Léo; Berceaux, Antoine; Noël, Mathias; Arroyo, Beatriz; Bacon, Léo. Use of linear features by red-legged partridges in an intensive agricultural landscape: implications for landscape management in farmland. Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article  no. e15. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.368.

PCI peer reviews and recommendation, and links to data, scripts, code and supplementary information: 10.24072/pci.ecology.100580

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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