Publications for Dr Allan Perkins

Population responses of farmland bird species to agri-environment schemes and land management options in Northeastern Scotland

The decline of farmland birds across Europe is a well-documented case of biodiversity loss, and despite land stewardship supported by funding from agri-environment schemes (AES), the negative trends have not yet been reversed. To investigate the contribution of AES towards farmland bird conservation, we compared abundance of five farmland bird species across 13 years and 53 farms (158 farm years = AES, 72 farm years = non AES) in Northeastern Scotland (UK), a region with relatively mixed farmland. Between 2003 and 2015, on both AES and control farms, skylark (Alauda arvensis) showed a nonsignificant decline, and tree sparrow (Passer montanus) and yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) nonsignificant increases, whereas reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) and linnet (Carduelis cannabina) populations remained relatively stable. We did not detect a significant association between AES and avian abundance or population trends for any of these species, but there were positive associations with some AES management options. Possible explanations for the lack of a significant AES-bird abundance association include poor uptake of the best AES options for farmland birds, suboptimal implementation, spill-over effects from AES onto control farms, and the relatively good state of farmland habitats outwith AES in Northeastern Scotland. Synthesis and applications. We documented a weak effect size of participation in agri-environment schemes on farmland bird abundance. We therefore recommend future monitoring studies be designed after consulting a power analysis. Among different land management options, we found that species-rich grasslands, water margins, and wetland creation enhanced breeding bird abundance, highlighting the importance of relatively undisturbed herbaceous or grassland vegetation for farmland conservation.

Date
04 March 2019
RSPB Authors
Dr Allan Perkins
Authors
Daskalova, G. N. Phillimore, A. B. Bell, M. Maggs, H. E. Perkins, A. J.
Published in
Journal of Applied Ecology
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Combined bottom-up and top-down pressures drive catastrophic population declines of Arctic skuas in Scotland

Understanding drivers of population change is critical for effective species conservation. In the northeast Atlantic Ocean, recent changes amongst seabird communities are linked to human and climate change impacts on food webs. Many species have declined severely, with food shortages, and...

Date
01 November 2018
RSPB Authors
Dr Allan Perkins, Dr Mark Bolton
Authors
Perkins, A., Ratcliffe, N., Suddaby, D., Ribbands, B., Smith, C., Ellis, P., Meek, E. & Bolton, M.
Published in
Journal of Animal Ecology 87 (6): 1573-1586
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Testing the use of infra-red video cameras to census a nocturnal burrow-nesting seabird, the European Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus

Accurate population estimates are important for monitoring the conservation status of species, but nocturnal burrow-nesting seabirds are notoriously difficult to count.

Date
02 April 2018
RSPB Authors
Dr Allan Perkins, Dr Mark Bolton
Authors
Perkins, A.J., Bingham, C.J. & Bolton, M.
Published in
Ibis 160 (2): 365-378
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Crop sward structure explains seasonal variation in nest site selection and informs agri-environment scheme design for a species of high conservation concern: the Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra

Capsule: Corn Buntings nested in tall dense grasses and cereals, selecting for sward density over height, and cereal fields with high weed scores.

Date
11 September 2015
RSPB Authors
Dr Allan Perkins, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Perkins, A.J., Maggs, H.E. & Wilson, J.D.
Published in
Bird Study
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Delayed mowing increases corn bunting Emberiza calandra nest success in an agri-environment scheme trial

Management intensification in agricultural grasslands is a major conservation concern. During the last 50 years, meadows have been drained, re-seeded with high-yielding grasses, treated with chemicals...

Date
19 October 2013
RSPB Authors
Dr Allan Perkins, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Perkins, A.J., Maggs, H.E., Wilson, J.D. & Watson, A.
Published in
Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment
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Conservation insights from changing associations between habitat, territory distribution and mating system of corn buntings Emberiza calandra over a 20-year population decline

Associations between habitat and animal distributions are widely used to make conservation recommendations. However, short-term studies do not allow investigation of temporal variation in associations...

Date
21 June 2012
RSPB Authors
Dr Allan Perkins, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Perkins, A.J., Watson, A., Maggs, H.E. & Wilson, J.D.
Published in
Ibis
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Adaptive management and targeting of agri-environment schemes does benefit biodiversity: a case study of the corn bunting

Agri-environment schemes (AES) are the main European policy response to biodiversity loss caused by agricultural intensification. Maximizing their effectiveness is a key policy challenge. Monitor...

Date
08 February 2011
RSPB Authors
Dr Allan Perkins, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Perkins, A.J., Maggs, H.E., Watson, A. & Wilson, J.D.
Published in
Journal of Applied Ecology
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Decline of corn buntings Emberiza calandra on east Scottish study areas in 1989-2007

Adult numbers on many study areas fluctuated from year to year, but overall showed a large decline, down to extinction on most areas. Aims To measure changes in summer numbers of adult Corn...

Date
28 May 2009
RSPB Authors
Dr Allan Perkins, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Watson, A., Perkins, A.J., Maggs, H.E. & Wilson, J.D.
Published in
Bird Study
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Winter bird use of seed-rich habitats in agri-environment schemes

To assess the effectiveness of over-winter seed provision by agri-environment schemes, bird use of patches of seed-bearing crops was compared with that of other seed-rich habitats on 53 farms in eastern...

Date
11 March 2008
RSPB Authors
Dr Allan Perkins, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Perkins, A.J., Maggs, H.E. & Wilson, J.D.
Published in
Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment
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Targeted management intervention reduces rate of population decline of corn buntings Emberiza calandra in eastern Scotland

Breeding populations were less likely to decline when farmland was subject to management intervention designed to benefit the species. To determine whether targeted management intervention...

Date
01 January 2008
RSPB Authors
Dr Allan Perkins, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Perkins, A.J., Maggs, H.E., Wilson, J.D., Watson, A. & Smout, C.
Published in
Bird Study
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