Background: “Igune,” a traditional agricultural landscape in the Tohoku region of Japan, is characterized by small-scale artificial woodlots surrounding a farmer’s house that are interspersed with paddy fields. During the rapid economic growth of Japan over recent decades, some igune woodlots have been abandoned or logged. Biodiversity conservation is an important issue worldwide, and traditional agricultural landscapes are of particular interest. To elucidate the role of igune landscapes in conserving biodiversity, we examined the effects of environmental factors on avian communities. Results: The study was conducted in the suburban areas of Oshu and Hanamaki cities, Iwate Prefecture, Japan, at eight sites that varied in the density and area of igune woodlots within the landscape. Bird surveys were conducted from the middle to late breeding season, and several environmental factors of the igune landscape were also measured. The results of canonical correspondence analysis indicated that the characteristics of avian communities were mainly determined by the total forested area in the landscape. Increased total forested area and shrubs layer of igune woodlots did not cause a reduction in number of bird species of any habitat and foraging types, while increased both in species number and abundance of insectivores and forest species. The number of raptor species increased in igune sites without shrubs. Conclusions: Our results suggest that maintaining igune landscapes may enhance avian diversity within this landscape, although the effects of shrubs within igune varied; developed bush communities increased the evenness of the avian community, whereas some raptor species preferred an open forest understory.
- Canonical correspondence analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics