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Browsing by Author "Haapalainen, Samuli"

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  • Haapalainen, Samuli (2021)
    Biodiversity is decreasing globally due to human activity. At times, on-time monitoring of the state of habitats and biodiversity is challenging. One useful way to study these is to use certain species as indicators for the state of habitats and biodiversity. One group that are often used, are birds. They are easy to detect and they have specialized to most terrestrial ecosystems. Changes in the population sizes of different bird species can reflect changes in different habitats and their biodiversity. Therefore, it is essential that different bird monitoring practices produce reliable and comparable results. I compared datasets produced by two different Finnish bird census programs in my thesis. The census programs were national breeding bird survey program and Hanko Bird Observatory´s migratory bird census program. Both programs produce data on population abundances and changes in population sizes. Because methods between these programs differ greatly, their data may differ for some species. I compared the datasets by comparing population change indexes of the same species. I also tested whether species traits would be associated with the comparability of the datasets. These traits were mean body size, migratory behavior, favored habitats, and number of sightings for each species. I made models for all combinations of traits. I used a generalized linear model in my analysis. I compared the models by using Akaike´s information criterion (AIC) with correction for small sample sizes (AICc). My results showed that both national breeding bird survey program and Hanko Bird Observatory´s migratory bird census program produce parallel population trends for species. From the tested species traits, only migratory behavior was associated with comparability of the datasets. The datasets were highly comparable for long- and short-distance migratory birds but only moderately comparable for resident birds. This is likely due to migratory bird census program recording the local population dynamics of resident birds of Hanko peninsula. These local population trends may differ from the national trends of the same species. The breeding bird survey program should better reflect the national population trends. My results also showed that more numerous common bird species are declining faster than uncommon species. This is an alarming scenario because it points at extensive habitat degradation and biodiversity loss. Also, population trends of species favoring mires and mountains were clearly declining compared to species favoring other environments. This may be due to endangering of mire and mountain habitats due to climate change and human land use such as peatland drainage. Strong declines of species may also be explained by changes in the wintering areas of these species. Finnish breeding bird survey program and Hanko Bird Observatory´s migratory bird census program both produce overall comparable data on population trends of birds. They could be used to complement one another and to provide supporting evidence on the validity of bird population trends. Producing quality bird census data is highly important in tracking the state of biodiversity and when deciding on conservation acts. The data on the census programs provide support for the research on state of Finnish and European habitats and biodiversity.