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Title: Fannyard manure application as a management tool for conserving breeding waders on lowland wet grassland.
Author: Watkins, Charlotte Mary Horton
Awarding Body: Harper Adams University College
Current Institution: Harper Adams University College
Date of Award: 2007
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Abstract:
Breeding waders have suffered widespread population declines on lowland wet grassland. Conservation efforts on reserves are concentrated on the provision of optimum foraging and nesting conditions to improve wader productivity. This thesis aimed to investigate the potential offarmyard manure (FYM) application to increase soil invertebrate availability (a component of wader diet) in spring, thereby enhancing foraging habitat quality. Fieldwork was conducted in 2004-2006 on lowland wet grassland RSPB reserves to assess. the effects of FYM at rates of 5, 10 and 15 tonnes ha-1 on soil invertebrates and other factors of relevance to wader conservation and wider management objectives. Additional studies were carried out to investigate the response of earthworms to FYM on a finer scale and establish the role of earthworms in the diet, habitat choices and foraging efficiency of lapwing adults and chicks. An increase in earthworm availability in the breeding season was seen following an autumn application ofFYM spread at rates of 10 and 15 tonnes ha-1 Ã?Â? There was a strong aggregative response of earthworms to FYM on a small scale. No effect of FYM application at these rates was seen on epigeal invertebrate numbers, but the average body mass of Coleoptera increased on FYM treatments. There was no evidence to suggest a detrimental effect on either soil or vegetation properties on reserves. Earthwonn availability was an important factor in foraging choice and rates in female adult lapwing and for older chicks, with chicks close to fledging showing significantly greater levels of earthworms in their diet. An assessment of the gross energy content of common earthworm species suggests the increases in earthworm availability seen at these rates of FYM application are sufficient to be biologically meaningful to waders in the Breeding waders have suffered widespread population declines on lowland wet grassland. Conservation efforts on reserves are concentrated on the provision of optimum foraging and nesting conditions to improve wader productivity. This thesis aimed to investigate the potential offarmyard manure (FYM) application to increase soil invertebrate availability (a component of wader diet) in spring, thereby enhancing foraging habitat quality. Fieldwork was conducted in 2004-2006 on lowland wet grassland RSPB reserves to assess. the effects of FYM at rates of 5, 10 and 15 tonnes ha-1 on soil invertebrates and other factors of relevance to wader conservation and wider management objectives. Additional studies were carried out to investigate the response of earthworms to FYM on a finer scale and establish the role of earthworms in the diet, habitat choices and foraging efficiency of lapwing adults and chicks. An increase in earthworm availability in the breeding season was seen following an autumn application ofFYM spread at rates of 10 and 15 tonnes ha-1 Ã?Â? There was a strong aggregative response of earthworms to FYM on a small scale. No effect of FYM application at these rates was seen on epigeal invertebrate numbers, but the average body mass of Coleoptera increased on FYM treatments. There was no evidence to suggest a detrimental effect on either soil or vegetation properties on reserves. Earthwonn availability was an important factor in foraging choice and rates in female adult lapwing and for older chicks, with chicks close to fledging showing significantly greater levels of earthworms in their diet. An assessment of the gross energy content of common earthworm species suggests the increases in earthworm availability seen at these rates of FYM application are sufficient to be biologically meaningful to waders in the field.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Harper Adams University College, 2007 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.492007  DOI: Not available
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