Since the mid-1980s, exhausted pastures in Ecuador have been increasingly abandoned, allowing forest regeneration. At approximately 2,200 m in the Tandayapa valley I surveyed four abandoned pastures to evaluate their use by birds. Each former pasture represented a different age of vegetation maturity. The number of bird species recorded in each successively older abandoned pasture increased but only half the number of species recorded in the undisturbed forest site was recorded in the most mature pasture. However, at least four restricted-range bird species were recorded in a single pasture. As pastures rapidly convert to secondary forest, more bird species and rarer bird species use them, even in highly disturbed areas where surrounding pristine forest constitutes less than 10% of local forest cover. Conservation efforts should then be directed toward them.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mark_welford/96/