Hayfields as Sustainable Habitat for Grassland Bird Populations:  Ecological and Economic Impacts of "Bird-friendly" Hay

Personnel: Austin Troy, with Allan Strong (PI), Sid Bosworth, Therese Donovan, Dan Shustack


This project looks at the effect of hayfield management practices in the Champlain Valley on songbird habitat. In particular, we are looking at whether currently utilized haying practices turn hayfields into "ecological traps" for birds. My contributions are to: (A) to look at the economic feasibility of farmers adopting bird-friendly haying practices and assess how that varies with farm type, size and quality,(B) use GIS and remote sensing to classify Champlain Valley farms by type, size, and hay productivity, (C) use GIS to determine the extent of hayfield acreage that might serve as songbird habitat across the Champlain Valley, and (D) model the regional economic impacts of switching to bird-friendly management, based on the classification of farms. We are interested in eventually looking at grassland habitat on non-agricultural, medium to large properties, and determining whether changes to mowing practices on these lands might be more feasible than on active agricultural lands.

       Updated: 17 January 2003