Main content area

Meadow management and occurrence of corncrake Crex crex

Berg, A., Gustafson, T.
Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 2007 v.120 no.2-4 pp. 139-144
pastures, pasture management, Rallidae, wild birds, agroecosystems, wildlife habitats, water birds, vegetation cover, plants, height, land restoration, land management, anthropogenic activities, plant communities, ecological succession, Sweden
The aim of this study was to analyse the occurrence of corncrakes in two Swedish meadow sites managed by mowing and grazing, but also with abandoned meadows. Most corncrakes (58%) on meadows were found in unmanaged areas without subsidies to the farmers (i.e. areas with tall vegetation). Several corncrakes (62%) were found in restored areas, managed for less than 10 of the last 40 years, fewer (38%) in areas under continuous management. Vegetation height was negatively associated with number of years of management the last 40 years, and the continuously managed areas were avoided by corncrakes. Sites where corncrake territories occur regularly should be managed to maintain tall vegetation suitable for the species, which requires increased use of mowing. However, the results from our study also suggest that yearly mowing might result in a vegetation structure that is avoided by corncrakes. To achieve a balance between tall grassy vegetation and prevention of succession to scrub a possible management regime would therefore be mowing at intervals of a few years.