Capsule: Populations of birds on farmland are larger and more stable in Hungary than in the UK and may provide baseline targets when planning population restoration programmes in more intensively farmed regions of Europe. Aims: To review the available evidence on farmland bird populations and their changes over the past century in Hungary, and to compare this with similar data for the UK. Methods: Published papers and grey literature were searched to determine long-term bird population trends for birds on farmland in Hungary, and for research evidence on the relationship between farmland management and bird diversity in Hungary. Results: Population density of common farmland birds is higher and trends are more positive in Hungary compared to the UK. These findings correlate with the recent change to generally less intensive agriculture in Hungary. However, while the birdlife associated with farmland in Hungary can be considered to have high diversity and density, it is still lower than it was in the first half of the 20th century and earlier. The few studies available showed that low-intensity traditional management promotes a rich biodiversity in both grasslands and arable systems in Hungary. Agri-environment schemes were introduced when Hungary joined the EU in 2004; however, their influence on biodiversity has not been systematically monitored. Conclusions: Insights emerging from farmland bird research in those European countries which still practice extensive agricultural techniques could be used to set general baseline targets for restoring biodiversity in regions where farmlands are now intensively managed. At the European scale urgent tasks are to: (1) investigate the relationships between management and bird diversity and density on a much wider geographical scale, (2) evaluate the geographical generality of the existing evidence base (which is mainly based on studies conducted in more intensively farmed regions), and (3) enhance the policy impact of conservation research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation