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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 753: VI International Symposium on Kiwifruit

DIVERSITY AND ABUNDANCE OF BIRDS IN NEW ZEALAND KIWIFRUIT ORCHARDS

Authors:   S. Rate, C. Rosin, G. Blackwell, H. Moller, L. Hunt
Keywords:   Actinidia, native, exotics, KiwiGreen, organic, integrated management, sustainability, whole-farm resilience
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2007.753.81
Abstract:
The Agricultural Research Group On Sustainability (ARGOS) compared bird abundance and diversity on 36 matched certified organic 'Hayward' ("Organic"), KiwiGreen 'Hayward' ("Green") and KiwiGreen 'Hort16A' ("Gold") kiwifruit orchards in New Zealand in summer 2004/2005. Most of the birds were introduced species, but orchard landscapes also support some valued native species (e.g., tui, Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae and fantail, Rhipidura fuliginosa). The log-transformed total bird count was significantly higher on Organic orchards than on either Green or Gold orchards. There was no significant difference between Green and Gold orchards, although average counts were higher on Green orchards. Log species richness was not significantly different between management systems, although it was highest on Organic orchards, followed by Green and then Gold orchards. The arcsine-transformed proportion of native species was significantly different between the three management systems, and was highest in Organic orchards, followed by Gold and then Green orchards. Field measures of abundance were compared with growers' observations of bird abundance and their attitudes to birds on their properties. Kiwifruit growers have a detailed working knowledge of the birds present on their orchards, with recognition and awareness greatest for valued native species and species they consider pests. Birds have significant potential to be ecological, economic and social indicators of sustainability of New Zealand kiwifruit orchards, although work is still required to identify the most appropriate species for further study and monitoring. Conservation of biodiversity on kiwifruit orchards and surrounding landscapes is potentially important to safeguard both the competitive advantage and long-term sustainability of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

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