Baseline data on the diversity and abundance of selected bird species on conventional and converting organic dairy farms


  • Marion Mondot
  • Grant Blackwell
  • Tanja Maegli



While it has been shown that bird species can benefit from organic farm management internationally, there is little information on birds in production landscapes in NZ. In this paper we apply spatial analysis techniques to compare the spatial distribution and habitat use of birds on selected North Island dairy farms, half of which are undergoing a 3-year organic conversion process and half of which are remaining under conventional management. There were significantly more skylarks recorded on conventionally managed farms. Overall however, there were few differences in overall bird abundance or diversity between the two management systems. The comparable use of woody vegetation and open pasture may reflect similar proportions and composition of these on the study farms. Once fully converted, organic dairy production systems may offer benefits for some bird species, although the composition and management of the farm and surrounding landscape are probably also key factors for bird numbers and diversity. Keywords: birds, dairy farming, landscape composition, organic conversion, pasture composition