During the Summer of 2018, I participated in the research project on farmland restoration, and worked on the team that surveyed bird communities. I investigated the differences in bird community composition and breeding habitat diversity between four sites enrolled in conservation easement. Each site implemented a different set of restoration techniques (seeding, disking, chemicals, and burning) for converting farmland into native grassland. My findings showed the site that implemented two restoration techniques with less frequency had the greatest species diversity, diversity of breeding habitats, and grassland species.
Participating in this project gave me a holist overview of the impacts of restoration techniques on ecosystems, the interactions between different communities, as well as how these communities respond to changes in their habitats.
As an Environmental and Sustainability Studies major, with a conservation in Sustainable Food System and Agriculture, this experience was extremely valuable to me. It helped me understand the benefits of conservation easements, and reflect on how to manage farmland in synergy with bird conservation efforts.