What are farmers' perceptions about farmland landbirds? A Galapagos Islands perspective

Ilke Geladi, Pierre Yves Henry, Paulina Couenberg, Rick Welsh, Birgit Fessl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conservation practices in agricultural landscapes can greatly mitigate biodiversity loss. However, agricultural landscapes are embedded in complex, social-ecological systems and therefore require a strong social-ecological approach for effective conservation measures. The Galapagos Islands are globally recognized for their high levels of biodiversity. Nevertheless, in recent years, Galapagos landbirds have suffered rapid declines, specifically in the agricultural zone. Our study is the first to examine the farmers' perception of landbirds in the agricultural zone of Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 38 farmers to characterize the relationship between farmers and landbirds including how landbirds affect farmers and farmers' perceptions of landbirds. The interviewed farmers managed a diverse array of farm types including coffee in agroforestry settings (23.7%), small-scale fruit and vegetable (60.5%) and livestock production (15.8%). We found that 86.9% of farmers had a positive or neutral perception of birds despite 52.6% of farmers finding finches bothersome. The most common techniques farmers employed to deter birds were putting out food and water, using nets to protect seedbeds and crops and using protective tubes around young plants. Our results suggest a positive potential for future conservation work targeted on farmland biodiversity. Future conservation projects should also address disservices and the mitigation of crop raiding by landbirds, the uninformed use of pesticides and other pest issues such as ants and rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-515
Number of pages12
JournalRenewable Agriculture and Food Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • Bird conservation
  • Galapagos
  • farmer perception
  • human-wildlife interactions
  • working lands conservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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