European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 179–187

Factors affecting changes in grey partridge population dynamics in a French arable farmland over an eleven-year period

  • Dominique Pépin
  • Marcel Birkan
  • Jean-Marc Angibault
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10344-007-0125-z

Cite this article as:
Pépin, D., Birkan, M. & Angibault, J. Eur J Wildl Res (2008) 54: 179. doi:10.1007/s10344-007-0125-z

Abstract

The grey partridge Perdix perdix is of conservation concern owing to habitat heterogeneity losses and the negative impact of other environmental factors, e.g., pesticide use, predators, weather or shooting pressure, which are known to be associated with population decline. By an 11-year-period study in an intensively cultivated farmland located in the Paris basin, we aimed to relate the changes in grey partridge population dynamics with the changes in agriculture, monthly rainfall and shooting pressure. Summer drought occurred at the middle time of the study period. At the start of our study, a new cultivation, winter-wheat broadcast in maize-stubble fields, was introduced that probably improved the habitat. But in the next years, there was a loss in habitat diversity due to the disappearance of pastures dedicated to sheep rearing, removal of non-cropped areas and field boundaries and increase in the mean field size. Shooting was annually adjusted to what the owner believed to be a wise harvest. In post-breeding coveys, both percentages of hens with young among total hens and young-to-successful hens ratios first increased and then decreased. The mean brood size was rather weak during the dryness incident. The number of pairs in a more heterogeneous sector was always greater than in a less one. In both sectors, spring abundance first increased and then decreased. In the second half of the study period, the shooting quotas were reduced, especially when the mean brood size fell down. Low hatching rates of clutches and low chick survival rates explain the population decline, as the results are convincing. To stop the population decline in intensive arable farmland, good breeding success is needed. This can be provided by favourable habitats for hens to nest and for chicks to feed.

Keywords

Agricultural intensificationArable farmlandBreeding successHabitat diversityMean brood sizePerdix perdixShooting pressure

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dominique Pépin
    • 1
  • Marcel Birkan
    • 2
  • Jean-Marc Angibault
    • 1
  1. 1.Comportement et Ecologie de la Faune SauvageInstitut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)Castanet-Tolosan cedexFrance
  2. 2.Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (ONCFS)Paris cedexFrance