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David J. Baker, Stephen N. Freeman, Phil V. Grice and Gavin M. Siriwardena Landscape-scale responses of birds to agri-environment management: a test of the English Environmental Stewardship scheme Journal of Applied Ecology 49

Version of Record online: 2 JUL 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02161.x

This study demonstrates that agri-environment scheme management has the potential to have national-scale effects on avian population growth rates, although our results suggest that some components of the scheme have had little effect on bird populations. Therefore, whilst this study provides the first proof-of-concept for broad-and-shallow scheme impacts on biodiversity, our results underline the importance of targeting towards population-limiting factors, here winter food resources. A combination of low uptake of key in-field options that provide winter seed and a failure to cover the late-winter period effectively explains the lack of national population responses. Such issues need to be addressed before schemes like Environmental Stewardship will achieve their goals. This study shows the value of feedback from monitoring for informing scheme design, through identifying problems and testing solutions.

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