Planting Trees and Shrubs Will Help Bring Woodland Birds Back to Farms, Study Finds

Planting Trees and Shrubs Will Help Bring Woodland Birds Back to Farms, Study Finds

Oftentimes, where there are trees, there are birds, whether the landscape is woodland, forest, an urban park or rural farmland. In Australia, farmland is being revegetated to attract woodland bird species, a team of researchers wrote in The Conversation. Trees bordering paddocks are being planted, and stands of trees and shrubs that run beside creeks are being replenished.

The research team included four researchers from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia — professor of ecology Andrew F. Bennett; research fellow Angie Haslem; associate research fellow Greg Holland; principal research fellow with the Research Centre for Future Landscapes Jim Radford — as well as the director of the Monash Drone Discovery Platform and senior lecturer in ecology at Monash University Rohan Clarke. Their new study showed how the replanting of trees and shrubs on farmland is helping woodland birds to return.

The researchers’ findings, “Restoration promotes recovery of woodland birds in agricultural environments: A comparison of ‘revegetation’ and ‘remnant’ landscapes,” were published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

After comparing communities of birds living on farmland that had varying numbers of trees, the researchers said in The Conversation that increasing the amount of vegetation on open farmland from one to ten percent led to twice the number of species of woodland birds.

“This is important, because populations of woodland birds have been steeply declining in southern Australia, with species such as the southern whiteface, brown treecreeper and white-browed babbler now of conservation concern. The collective efforts of landholders can help reverse these declines by attracting species back into otherwise-cleared farmland,” said the researchers.

Lead Image: A New Holland honeyeater in Tasmania, Australia. Dave WATTS / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

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