The importance of managing the costs and benefits of bird activity for agricultural sustainability

Shannon Triplett, Gary Luck, Peter Spooner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


The behaviour of wild animal species in agricultural landscapes may confer benefits to growersthrough the provision of ecosystem services (e.g. control of agricultural pests) or inflict coststhrough direct or indirect damage to crops or livestock. The literature on the costs that speciesinflict or the benefits they provide has evolved largely independently with few attempts tosynthesize information across studies. However, managing cost'benefit trade-offs tomaximize agricultural productivity while ensuring native species conservation is vital to thefuture of ecologically sustainable agriculture. Using birds as a case study, we review the twobodies of literature on the costs and benefits attributed to bird activity in agriculturallandscapes. In each case, we examine the major types of costs (e.g. consumption of crops)and benefits (e.g. pollination of crops) and assess approaches to quantifying these in termsof changes in crop yield or monetary value. We then synthesize this information to examineoptions for balancing cost'benefit trade-offs through coordinated and integratedmanagement strategies that consider all aspects of species activity in agricultural landscapes.Employing strategies that successfully balance costs and benefits is fundamental to futurefood security and agricultural sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-288
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

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