Fields planted with rice (Oryza sativa) are used by a wide variety of bird species during the non-growing season and play an important conservation role in many parts of the world. Management of fields affects the variety and number of birds that use them, and a thorough understanding of these issues could improve the conservation value of rice farming. The challenge for conservation practitioners is identifying management actions that provide benefits, without adverse impacts on crop production. Harvest method, post-harvest straw management, winter flooding, food supplementation and hunting all influence bird populations. Also, field preparation methods, organic farming and the management of field margins and drainage ditches, probably influence the conservation value of rice agriculture but have received less attention. Current knowledge of these issues is reviewed in order to identify management practices thought to have conservation benefits and highlight topics that warrant additional research.
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Vol. 33 • No. sp1