Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/24039
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: A role for liming as a conservation intervention? Earthworm abundance is associated with higher soil pH and foraging activity of a threatened shorebird in upland grasslands
Authors: McCallum, Heather M
Wilson, Jeremy
Beaumont, Dave
Sheldon, Rob
O'Brien, Mark G
Park, Kirsty
Contact Email: k.j.park@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: Agriculture
Grassland
Lime
Earthworm
Lapwing
Vanellus
Soil pH
Issue Date: 1-May-2016
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: McCallum HM, Wilson J, Beaumont D, Sheldon R, O'Brien MG & Park K (2016) A role for liming as a conservation intervention? Earthworm abundance is associated with higher soil pH and foraging activity of a threatened shorebird in upland grasslands, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 223, pp. 182-189.
Abstract: The relationship between farmland bird populations and agricultural intensification has been well studied. However, the impact of variation in soil conditions and soil management is an exception, especially in upland (sub-alpine) farming systems. In this study, we examined the relationships between liming history, soil pH and patterns of foraging by Northern Lapwing,Vanellus vanellus, chicks in order to test the potential utility of soil amendment as a conservation intervention for shorebirds nesting in agricultural grasslands. Limed fields had higher soil pH than unlimed fields, and soil pH declined with the number of years since a field was last limed. The most important predictor of total earthworm abundance was soil organic matter with very few earthworms in peats of very high organic matter content. However, there was a marked additive effect of soil pH with earthworms more than twice as abundant at high (pH 6.0) as at the low (pH 3.5) extremes of soil pH recorded in the study. Specifically, at Lapwing chick foraging locations, the density ofAllolobophora chlorotica, an acid-intolerant species of earthworm found just below the surface of the soil, was significantly higher than at randomly selected locations. These results suggest that liming helped to maintain breeding habitat quality for Lapwings and other species dependent on earthworms. This is of conservation significance in upland agricultural grasslands in the UK, where there has been a long-term reduction in agricultural lime use since the mid-20th century. Field-scale trials of liming would be valuable to test whether targetted amendment of soil pH in agriculturally improved grasslands could retain an important role in conservation management for shorebirds in upland landscapes where geology, high rainfall, and leaching tend to acidify soils over time.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/24039
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2016.03.005
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Accepted refereed manuscript of: McCallum HM, Wilson J, Beaumont D, Sheldon R, O'Brien MG & Park K (2016) A role for liming as a conservation intervention? Earthworm abundance is associated with higher soil pH and foraging activity of a threatened shorebird in upland grasslands, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 223, pp. 182-189. DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2016.03.005 © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Affiliation: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Biological and Environmental Sciences
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Biological and Environmental Sciences

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