A multi-scale approach was used to investigate the response of the moorland bird community to agricultural land-use in the surrounding matrix and local-scale vegetation characteristics. For the assemblage of upland specialist species, there was a negative association with the extent of intensively managed grassland at the 750. m spatial scale. This had a greater influence on richness than the local vegetation characteristic of the moorland itself. Similarly, for species of conservation concern, richness was enhanced by increased landscape-level woodland cover at the 750. m scale. Such assemblage-level associations can mask the responses of individual species. For example, some upland specialists, such as the red grouse and golden plover, were negatively associated with intensive grassland in the landscape, while other species of conservation concern, notably curlew, lapwing and snipe all showed positive relationships. These results indicate that upland agriculture at the landscape-scale is integral to maintaining the richness and composition of UK moorland birds and hence land management actions for moorland should not be limited to that habitat alone.
- Agri-environment scheme
- Biodiversity conservation