Irrigation canals in a semi-arid agricultural landscape surrounded by wetlands: Their role as a habitat for birds during the breeding season

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Title: Irrigation canals in a semi-arid agricultural landscape surrounded by wetlands: Their role as a habitat for birds during the breeding season
Authors: López Pomares, Alejandro | López Iborra, Germán M. | Martín Cantarino, Carlos
Research Group/s: Grupo Interdisciplinario de Estudios Críticos y de América Latina (GIECRYAL) | Ecología Espacial y del Paisaje (EEP) | Zoología de Vertebrados
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Multidisciplinar para el Estudio del Medio "Ramón Margalef"
Keywords: Irrigation canals | Bird community | Semi-arid agrarian ecosystems | Reed | Mediterranean water bodies | Hierarchical partitioning analysis
Knowledge Area: Ecología
Issue Date: Jul-2015
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Journal of Arid Environments. 2015, 118: 28-36. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2015.02.021
Abstract: Traditional water supply systems in semi-arid agrarian ecosystems, mainly irrigation canals, contribute to the diversity of the landscape and influence the composition of species. To evaluate their effect on bird communities in the breeding season, we selected a rural area in southeastern Spain, where an intricate and extensive network of irrigation canals and cultivated areas is located between two wetlands declared as Natural Parks. Birds were counted at representative points distributed throughout the canal network at which we recorded several variables related to the physical features, the vertical and horizontal structure of associated vegetation, reed development (Phragmites australis) and land use in the neighboring areas. We detected 37 bird species, most of which were also breeding in the wetlands nearby. We used Hierarchical Partitioning analyses to identify the variables most strongly related to the probability of the presence of selected species and species richness. Vegetation cover and height close to the canals, together with reed development, were the most important types of variables explaining species presence and richness. We found that current management practices for reeds in canals are not well-suited for biodiversity conservation. We therefore propose alternatives that could be implemented in the area in cooperation with stakeholders.
Sponsor: This research has been supported by the Project WADI, INCOCT2005-015226, European Commission.
ISSN: 0140-1963 (Print) | 1095-922X (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2015.02.021
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
Peer Review: si
Publisher version:
Appears in Collections:INV - GIECRYAL - Artículos de Revistas
INV - EEP - Artículos de Revistas
INV - ZV - Artículos Científicos

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