Bird distributions relative to remotely sensed habitats in Great Britain: Towards a framework for national modelling

Fuller, Robin M.; Devereux, Bernard J.; Gillings, Simon; Hill, Ross A.; Amable, Gabriel S.. 2007 Bird distributions relative to remotely sensed habitats in Great Britain: Towards a framework for national modelling. Journal of Environmental Management, 84. 586-605.

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This paper develops a comprehensive and objective picture of bird distributions relative to habitats across Britain. Bird species presence/absence data from an extensive field survey and habitat data from the remotely sensed UK Land Cover Map 2000 were analysed in 36,920 tetrads (2 km×2 km) across Britain (a 65% sample of Britain's c. 240 000 km2). Cluster analysis linked birds to generalised landscapes based on distinctive habitat assemblages. Maps of the clusters showed strong regional patterns associated with the habitat assemblages. Cluster centroid coordinates for each bird species and each habitat were combined across clusters to derive individualised bird–habitat preference indices and examine the importance of individual habitats for each bird species. Even rare species and scarce habitats showed successful linkages. Results were assessed against published accounts of bird–habitat relations. Objective corroboration strongly supported the associations. Relatively scarce coastal and wetland habitats proved particularly important for many birds. However, extensive arable farmland and woodland habitats were also favoured by many species, despite reported declines in bird numbers in these habitats. The fact that habitat-specialists do not or cannot move habitat is perhaps a reason for declining numbers where habitats have become unsuitable.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Parr
UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 0301-4797
Additional Keywords: bird, habitat, map, remote sensing, biodiversity, landscape, ecology, modelling
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 18 Jan 2008 12:12 +0 (UTC)

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