Literature is reviewed to determine the effects of landscape features on waterbird use of fields in regions where rice (Oryza sativa) is grown. Rice-growing landscapes often consist of diverse land uses and land cover, including rice fields, irrigation ditches, other agricultural fields, grasslands, forests and natural wetlands. Numerous studies indicate that local management practices, such as water depth and timing of flooding and drawdown, can strongly influence waterbird use of a given rice field. However, the effects of size and distribution of rice fields and associated habitats at a landscape scale have received less attention. Even fewer studies have focused on local and landscape effects simultaneously. Habitat connectivity, area of rice, distance to natural wetlands, and presence and distance to unsuitable habitat can be important parameters influencing bird use of rice fields. However, responses to a given landscape vary with landscape structure, scale of analysis, among taxa and within taxa among seasons. A lack of multi-scale studies, particularly those extending beyond simple presence and abundance of a given species, and a lack of direct tests comparing the relative importance of landscape features with in-field management activities limits understanding of the importance of landscape in these systems and hampers waterbird conservation and management.
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Vol. 33 • No. sp1