Farmland birds are important state-of-nature indicators and their populations underwent steep declines across Europe. Such an unfavourable population trajectory was recently linked to agricultural intensification driven by EU-wide subsidy policy. However, the exact causal pathways between agricultural practices and farmland bird abundance remain unclear. For instance, population decrease of farmland insectivores in 31 European countries was unrelated to per hectare use of pesticides, even though their use is widely claimed as a principal threat to farmland biodiversity. To fill this knowledge gap, the project will focus on links among farmland habitat attributes, local agricultural management, insect food supply and farmland bird demography in different European countries. It will benefit from our long-term collaboration with entomologists to assess insect food supply for birds, as well as from involvement of farmers to express the amount pesticides and fertilizers applied locally. It will collect data in regions showing contrasting patterns in land-use history and management intensity following design proved by our previous multi-country field studies. We aim to separate the effects of local from regional drivers, as well as in-field (the amount of agents applied) vs. out-field (surrounding habitat heterogeneity and quality) factors in shaping farmland bird demography.

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