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Data from: Land use types influenced avian assemblage structure in a forest–agriculture landscape in Ghana

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Deikumah, Justus Precious; Kwafo, Richard; Konadu, Vida Asieduwaa (2018). Data from: Land use types influenced avian assemblage structure in a forest–agriculture landscape in Ghana [Dataset]. Dryad.


The conservation of biodiversity within tropical forest regions does not lie only in the maintenance of natural forest areas, but on conservation strategies directed towards agricultural land types within which they are embedded. This study investigated variations in bird assemblages of different functional groups of forest-dependent birds in three agricultural land types, relative to distance from the interior of 34 tropical forest patches of varying sizes. Point counts were used to sample birds at each study site visited. Data from counts were used to estimate species richness, species evenness and Simpson’s diversity of birds. Mean species richness, evenness and diversity were modelled as responses and as a function of agricultural land type, distance from the forest interior and three site-scale vegetation covariates (density of large trees, fruiting trees, patch size) using generalised linear mixed-effect models. Mean observed species richness of birds varied significantly within habitat types. Mean observed species richness was highest in forest interior sites while sites located in farm centres recorded the lowest mean species richness. Species richness of forest specialists was strongly influenced by the type of agricultural land use. Fallow lands, density of large trees and patch size strongly positively influenced forest specialists. Insectivorous and frugivorous birds were more species-rich in fallow lands while monoculture plantations favoured nectarivorous birds. Our results suggest that poor agricultural practices can lead to population declines of forest-dependent birds particularly specialist species. Conservation actions should include proper land use management that ensures heterogeneity through retention of native tree species on farms in tropical forest-agriculture landscapes.

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