Biological Invasions

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 93–104 | Cite as

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater: does laurel forest restoration remove a critical winter food supply for the critically endangered Azores bullfinch?

  • Ricardo S. Ceia
  • Hugo L. Sampaio
  • Sandra H. Parejo
  • Ruben H. Heleno
  • Maria L. Arosa
  • Jaime A. Ramos
  • Geoff M. Hilton
Original Paper

Abstract

The invasive Clethra arborea has a dual-role in the diet of the Azores bullfinch, a critically endangered bird species endemic to the island of São Miguel (Azores, Portugal). This is a crucial winter food resource but it lowers the availability of native laurel forest species that compose most of the bird’s diet throughout the year. The removal of this and other invasive alien species is part of current laurel forest habitat restoration programmes, disregarding the impact on the Azores bullfinch population. In order to evaluate the first responses of the Azores bullfinch to habitat restoration, we studied bird diet, foraging behaviour, food availability and habitat occupancy in managed (without C. arborea) and control areas. Significant increases in the availability of native food resources in managed areas were noticeable in the diet, particularly the intake of Ilex perado ssp. azorica and Prunus lusitanica ssp. azorica flower buds. In most of the studied months birds heavily used and foraged in managed over control areas. The one exception was in December, when a resource-gap occurred in managed areas, which may be overcome in the short-term due to re-establishment of native plants following removal of invasive aliens.

Keywords

Azores Clethra arborea Endangered species Habitat restoration Laurel forest Pyrrhula murina 

References

  1. Arosa ML (2008) Fern feeding ecology of the Azores bullfinch, Pyrrhula murina. MSc thesis. Universidade de CoimbraGoogle Scholar
  2. Arosa ML, Quintanilla LG, Ramos JA, Ceia R, Sampaio H (2009a) Spore maturation and release of two evergreen Macaronesian ferns, Culcita macrocarpa and Woodwardia radicans, along an altitudinal gradient. Am Fern J 99:260–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arosa ML, Ramos JA, Valkenburg T, Ceia R, Laborda H, Quintanilla LG, Heleno R (2009b) Fern feeding ecology of the Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina): the selection of fern species and the influence of nutricional composition in fern choice. Ardeola 56:71–84Google Scholar
  4. BirdLife International (2008) Pyrrhula murina. In: IUCN (2008) 2008 Red list of threatened species. http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed 20 Feb 2010
  5. Bowles ML, Whelan CJ (1994) Restoration of endangered species. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Butchart SHM, Stattersfield AJ, Collar NJ (2006) How many bird extinctions have we prevented? Oryx 40:266–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ceia R (2008) Monitorização da população de Priolo. Relatório da acção F6 do Projecto LIFE Priolo. SPEA, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  8. Ceia R, Silva C (2008) Esquemas de monitorização das acções de remoção de exóticas e de produção e plantação de espécies nativas. Relatório da acção F5 do Projecto LIFE Priolo. SPEA, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  9. Ceia R, Heleno R, Ramos JA (2009) Summer abundance and ecological distribution of passerines in native and exotic forests in São Miguel, Azores. Ardeola 56:25–39Google Scholar
  10. D’Antonio C, Meyerson LA (2002) Exotic plant species as problems and solutions in ecological restoration: A synthesis. Restor Ecol 10:703–713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dobson AP, Bradshaw AD, Baker AJM (1997) Hopes for the future: restoration ecology and conservation biology. Science 277:515–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Forup ML, Henson KSE, Craze PG, Memmott J (2008) The restoration of ecological interactions: plant-pollinator networks on ancient and restored heathlands. J Appl Ecol 45:742–752CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Genovesi P (2005) Eradications of invasive alien species in Europe: a review. Biol Invasions 7:127–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gil A (2005) Plano de gestão da Zona de Protecção Especial Pico da Vara/Ribeira do Guilherme. SPEA, LisboaGoogle Scholar
  15. Heleno RH, Ceia RS, Ramos JA, Memmott J (2009) The effect of alien plants on insect abundance and biomass: a food web approach. Conserv Biol 23:410–419CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Heleno RH, Lacerda I, Ramos JA, Memmott J (2010). Evaluation of restoration effectiveness: community response to the removal of alien plants. Ecol Appl. doi: 10.1890/09-1384
  17. Kremen C, Hall G (2005) Managing ecosystem services: what do we need to know about their ecology? Ecol Lett 8:468–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Monticelli D, Ceia R, Heleno R, Laborda H, Timóteo S, Jareño D, Hilton GM, Ramos JA (2010). High survival rate of a critically endangered species, the Azores Bullfinch Pyrrhula murina, as a contribution to population recovery. J Ornithol. doi: 10.1007/s10336-010-0501-4
  19. Newton I (1964) Bud-eating by bullfinches in relation to the natural food supply. J Appl Ecol 1:265–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Newton I (1967) The feeding ecology of the Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula L.) in Southern England. J Anim Ecol 36:721–744CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Newton I (1998) Population limitation in birds. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. R Development Core Team (2009) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. http://www.R-project.org
  23. Ramos JA (1994) Fern frond feeding by the Azores bullfinch. J Avian Biol 25:344–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ramos JA (1995) The diet of the Azores bullfinch Pyrrhula murina and floristic variation within its range. Biol Conserv 71:237–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ramos JA (1996a) Introduction of exotic tree species as a threat to the Azores bullfinch population. J Appl Ecol 33:710–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ramos JA (1996b) The influence of size, shape and phenolic content on the selection of winter foods by the Azores bullfinch. J Zool 238:415–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rodriguez LF (2006) Can invasive species facilitate native species? Evidence of how, when, and why these impacts occur. Biol Invasions 8:927–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rozenstvet OA, Sakasnov SV, Filin VR, Dembitsky VM (2001) Seasonal changes of lipid content in the leaves of some ferns. Physiol Plantarum 113:59–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schäffer H (2002) Flora of the Azores, A field guide. Margraf Verlag, WeikersheimGoogle Scholar
  30. Silva L (2001) Plantas invasoras no Arquipélago dos Açores: caracterização geral e estudo de um caso, Clethra arborea Aiton (Clethraceae). PhD thesis. Universidade dos Açores, Ponta DelgadaGoogle Scholar
  31. Silva L, Smith CW (2004) A characterization of non-indigenous flora of the Azores Archipelago. Biol Invasions 6:193–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Silva L, Pinto N, Press B, Rumsay F, Carine M, Henderson S, Sjogren VE (2005) List of vascular plants (Pterydophyta and Spermatopgyta). In: Borges PAV, Cunha R, Gabriel R, Martins AMF, Silva L, Vieira V (eds) A list of the terrestrial fauna (Mollusca and Arthropoda) and flora (Bryophyta, Pteridophyta and Spermatophyta) from the Azores. pp 131–155. Direcção Regional de Ambiente and Universidade dos Açores, Horta, Angra do Heroísmo and Ponta DelgadaGoogle Scholar
  33. StatSoft, Inc. (2004) STATISTICA (data analysis software system), version 7. http://www.statsoft.com
  34. Van Riel P, Frias Martins AM, Beckeljau T (2000) Eradication of exotic species. Trends Ecol Evol 15:515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Vander Zanden MJ, Olden JD, Zedler JB (2006) Food-web approaches in restoration ecology. In: Falk DA, Palmer MA, Zedler L (eds) Foundations of restoration ecology. Island Press, USA, pp 165–189Google Scholar
  36. Vitousek PM, D’Antonio CM, Loope LL, Rejmanek M, Westbrooks R (1997) Introduced species: a significant component of human-caused global change. N Z J Ecol 21:1–16Google Scholar
  37. Young TP, Chase JM, Huddleston RT (2001) Community succession and assembly. Ecol Restor 19:5–18Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo S. Ceia
    • 1
  • Hugo L. Sampaio
    • 1
  • Sandra H. Parejo
    • 1
  • Ruben H. Heleno
    • 2
  • Maria L. Arosa
    • 3
    • 5
  • Jaime A. Ramos
    • 3
  • Geoff M. Hilton
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Portuguese Society for the Study of BirdsLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats (CSIC-UIB)Esporles, MallorcaSpain
  3. 3.Institute of Marine Research (IMAR/CMA), Department of Life SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)The Lodge, Sandy, BedsUnited Kingdom
  5. 5.Centre for Functional Ecology, Department of Life SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  6. 6.Wildfowl & Wetlands TrustSlimbridge, GlosUK

Personalised recommendations