Thomas Schneider-Bruchon

Farmland birds trends

We are now in a biodiversity crisis. Animals are particularly affected with a significant global decline observed since 1970 (-68%). Birds are largely impact by this crisis, 600 million birds in Europe and 3 billion birds in North America have disappear over the last 50 years. Our lifestyles and practices are widely blamed for this disaster. Indeed, during the last century, human activities have largely transformed ecosystems with a strong expansion of agricultural and urban areas to the detriment of natural areas. Agricultural intensification, motivated by the need to feed an ever-growing human population, has contributed and still contributes to this massive loss of biodiversity. It is recognized as the most important driver in the decline of about half of the farmland bird species in Europe and North America.

In this context, my PhD focuses on the trend of bird populations in France at a very local scale: a 450km² agricultural territory named “Zone Atelier”. Since 1995, birds count (IPA) have been carried out on this area, with no less than one point per km² for more than 10 years, allowing to describe the trajectory of birds in an exceptional way. So, the first objective of my thesis is to describe the trend of one of the most abundant species in agricultural areas: the skylark, according to the different spatial designs implemented in the “Zone Atelier”. A second objective will be to study the impact of agro-environmental measures (MAE) on the long-term trends of birds.

Supervisors: Sabrina Gaba and Vincent Bretagnolle
Doctoral school:  La Rochelle Université
Financing: Départment / Région