Relationships between vegetation structure and breeding bird communities in Spanish Holm oak dehesas: effects of human management

Authors: PULIDO, F. J. and DÍAZ, M. 1992.

Published: Volume 39(1), June 1992. Pages 63-72.

Language: Spanish

Original Title: Relaciones entre estructura de la vegetación y comunidades de aves nidificantes en las dehesas: influencia del manejo humano

Keywords: breeding birds communities, Holm-oak dehesas, human use and vegetation structure.


This paper describes the breeding bird communities that occupy the Holm-oak dehesas (a kind of wood-pasture exclusive from the western Mediterranean Basin) of the Alta Extremadura, western Spain. We also analyze the relationships between the main community parameters (density, species richness, diversity, and guild composition) and the effects of human use of dehesas on their vegetation structure. A Principal Component Analysis of structural variables gave three physiognomical gradients, the first related to livestock grazing intensity, the second related to shrub cover, and the third related to tree cover. Bird densities correlated positively with shrub cover. Species richness increased with grazing intensity, mainly because this factor favoured ecotonic birds which breed on the trees but feed on the ground.

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