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Potential impacts on important bird habitats in Eiderstedt (Schleswig-Holstein) caused by agricultural land use changes

Christine Schleupner and Peter Link ()

No FNU-138, Working Papers from Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University

Abstract: Agricultural land on the Eiderstedt peninsula in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) is traditionally dominated by extensively used grassland. These grassland areas are home to many (endangered) bird species, making Eiderstedt one of the prime bird habitats at the West coast of Schleswig-Holstein. Plans exist to convert large shares of grassland to arable farm land to grow crops needed in an intensified dairy production and for biofuels. In this study, three possible scenarios of agricultural land use change on Eiderstedt in the next couple of decades are developed. Using a GIS the possible impacts of such conversions on breeding bird populations of four key species are determined. The results indicate that an increase of arable farm land to approximately two thirds of the whole agricultural area drastically reduces suitable bird habitat, thus considerably diminishing the number of breeding pairs supported by the environment. The ornithological impact is greatest if conversion takes place throughout Eiderstedt extending from already existing areas of arable farm land. But even though the reduction in suitable breeding habitat is less pronounced in the other scenarios, every one of them induces a severe pressure on populations of meadowbirds that rely on habitat on Eiderstedt for successful reproduction.

Keywords: land; use (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 22 pages
Date: 2007-06, Revised 2007-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env
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