Exploring bird diversity in olive agroforestry systems at local, landscape and seasonal scale


Abstract: Large-scale expansion and intensification of agriculture pose significant threats to
avian populations, particularly insectivorous species in Mediterranean landscapes. However,
variations across local, landscape and seasonal scales remain poorly understood. During spring and autumn 2022 and 2023, we assessed bird diversity patterns in olive groves with varying proportions of adjacent semi-natural habitat in the Monte Pisano region of Tuscany, Italy. Through systematic point counts, we examined species richness and abundance responses to seasonality and high or low proportion of semi-natural habitat in 12 organic, smallholder olive agroforests. Our findings reveal seasonal variations in both richness and abundance, with higher species richness in spring and increased bird abundance in autumn. Notably, peri-urban sites exhibited higher bird abundance and species richness compared to those surrounded by a high proportion of semi-natural habitats, especially during seasons of resource scarcity in adjacent forests. Our study emphasizes the role of olive groves in supporting diverse bird species in Mediterranean agricultural landscapes.

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