Conservation of woodland birds in a fragmented rural landscape
G. W. Barrett, H. A. Ford and H. F. Recher
Pacific Conservation Biology
1(3) 245 - 256
AbstractIncreasingly, conservation efforts are being extended towards agricultural and pastoral areas outside large reserves. This indicates a change from the view of the landscape as islands of native habitat in a hostile matrix, to one in which the landscape is regarded as a patchwork of differing levels of disturbance. This latter view considers the whole of the landscape as the biological resource. These trends are discussed in relation to land bird species near Armidale on the New England Tablelands, north-east New South Wales, Australia. We assess the conservation status of 137 species of land birds. Of these, six species are locally extinct, 18 are thought to be declining and 35 are vulnerable due to their dependence on healthy woodland. Only 33 species are abundant and widely distributed on the Tablelands. The remaining 45 species tend to be habitat specialists that are marginal to the Armidale Plateau, and may never have been common in the study area. Most of the species that are dependent on large areas of continuous woodland (>400 ha) are in this last group, and it is demonstrated that an emphasis on these species may result in a conservation strategy that is inappropriate for most of the land birds in the region. Indeed, this could result in the extinction of species that at present are secure. An alternative strategy, specific to areas outside large reserves, is proposed that aims to maintain local species richness. In this management plan, priority is given to core species that are tolerant of intermediate levels of habitat fragmentation.
© CSIRO 1994