Between-Patch Bird Movements within a High-Andean Polylepis Woodland/Matrix Landscape: Implications for Habitat Restoration

Authors

  • Huw Lloyd,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester Street, Manchester, England, United Kingdom, M1 5GD
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  • Stuart J. Marsden

    1. Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester Street, Manchester, England, United Kingdom, M1 5GD
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H. Lloyd, email H.Lloyd@mmu.ac.uk

Abstract

The movement ability of species in fragmented landscapes must be considered if habitat restoration strategies are to allow maximum benefit in terms of increased or healthier wildlife populations. We studied movements of a range of bird species between woodland patches within a high-altitude Polylepis/matrix landscape in the Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru. Movement rates between Polylepis patches differed across guilds, with arboreal omnivores, arboreal sally-strikers and nectarivores displaying the highest movement rates, and understorey guilds and arboreal sally-gleaners the lowest movement rates. Birds tend to avoid flights to more distant neighboring patches, especially when moving from patches which were themselves isolated. The decline in bird flight frequencies with increasing patch isolation followed broken-stick models most closely, and while we suggest that there is evidence for a decline in between-patch movements over distances of 30–210 m, there was great variability in movement rates across individual patches. This variability is presumably a result of complex interactions between patch size, quality and configuration, and flight movement patterns of individual bird species. Our study does, however, highlight the contribution small woodland patches make toward fragmented Polylepis ecosystem functioning, and we suggest that, where financial resources permit, small patch restoration would be an important compliment to the restoration of larger woodland patches. Most important is that replanting takes place within 200 m or so of existing larger patches. This will be especially beneficial in allowing more frequent use of woodland elements within the landscape and in improving the total area of woodland patches that are functionally connected.

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