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Avian Community Density and Distribution Patterns among Nicaraguan Conventional and Organic Shade-Coffee Plantations

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Arendt, Wayne J.; Tuckfield, R. Cary; Martínez-Sánchez, Juan Carlos; Reidy, Jennifer L.; Thompson III, Frank R.; Jr., Joseph M. Wunderle; Zolotoff, José Manuel.

Year Published

2020

Publication

Agricultural Sciences

Abstract

We used a distance-sampling survey method and multivariate statistics to obtain a unique estimate of bird species density and seasonal variation in shade-coffee plantations. Our aim was to determine which cultivation practices among plantations contribute most to bird abundance. We conducted avian species counts at 200 points distributed across 10 shade-coffee plantations bordering the lower slopes of the Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve, in western Nicaragua. We measured vegetation structure (coffee plants and overstory). We used principal components analysis (PCA) among 14 habitat variables to derive a single phyto-geoclimate summary measure (PGSM). We also used PCA to derive an avian abundance summary measure (AASM) from three bird survey variables, which proved to be a good predictor of bird density. We found higher bird species densities (AASM) in organic and traditional polyculture shade coffee plantations whose structurally complex and diverse overstory could be verified by PGSM. However, this finding was true only for birds that were habitat specialists. Our results provide further evidence for promoting organic coffee cultivation practices that maintain a structurally diverse overstory and help retain avian species richness and abundance in coffee plantations.

Keywords

Bird Density; Coffee Cultivation Practices; Monoculture; Organic; Polycultur; Spatial Distribution; Species Richness.

Citation

Arendt, Wayne J.; Tuckfield, R. Cary; Martínez-Sánchez, Juan Carlos; Reidy, Jennifer L.; Thompson III, Frank R.; Jr., Joseph M. Wunderle; Zolotoff, José Manuel. 2020. Avian Community Density and Distribution Patterns among Nicaraguan Conventional and Organic Shade-Coffee Plantations. Agricultural Sciences. 11(01): 27-53. https://doi.org/10.4236/as.2020.111003.

Last updated on: February 18, 2020