Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 1879–1893 | Cite as

The conservation value of restored landfill sites in the East Midlands, UK for supporting bird communities

  • Md Lutfor Rahman
  • Sam Tarrant
  • Duncan McCollin
  • Jeff Ollerton
Original Paper


There has been a rapid decline of grassland bird species in the UK over the last four decades. In order to stem declines in biodiversity such as this, mitigation in the form of newly created habitat and restoration of degraded habitats is advocated in the UK biodiversity action plan. One potential restored habitat that could support a number of bird species is re-created grassland on restored landfill sites. However, this potential largely remains unexplored. In this study, birds were counted using point sampling on nine restored landfill sites in the East Midlands region of the UK during 2007 and 2008. The effects of restoration were investigated by examining bird species composition, richness, and abundance in relation to habitat and landscape structure on the landfill sites in comparison to paired reference sites of existing wildlife value. Twelve bird species were found in total and species richness and abundance on restored landfill sites was found to be higher than that of reference sites. Restored landfill sites support both common grassland bird species and also UK Red List bird species such as skylark Alauda arvensis, grey partridge Perdix perdix, lapwing Vanellus vanellus, tree sparrow, Passer montanus, and starling Sturnus vulgaris. Size of the site, percentage of bare soil and amount of adjacent hedgerow were found to be the most influential habitat quality factors for the distribution of most bird species. Presence of open habitat and crop land in the surrounding landscape were also found to have an effect on bird species composition. Management of restored landfill sites should be targeted towards UK Red List bird species since such sites could potentially play a significant role in biodiversity action planning.


Biodiversity Birds Restoration Conservation Grassland Landfill UK 








We would like to thank Dr Janet Jackson for helping with GIS and for useful suggestions. Special thanks are due to Dr Stella Watts and Dr Miguel Angel Munguía- Rosas, for providing invaluable help with statistical analysis using Canoco and R. We would like to extend our thanks to the landfill site operators and personnel who have made this research possible and nature site managers who are leading the way in nature conservation. We also would like to thank two anonymous referees for their valuable comments to improve this manuscript. This project has been generously supported by the SITA Environmental Trust from the Landfill Communities Fund, for which we are very grateful.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Md Lutfor Rahman
    • 1
  • Sam Tarrant
    • 1
    • 2
  • Duncan McCollin
    • 1
  • Jeff Ollerton
    • 1
  1. 1.Landscape and Biodiversity Research Group, School of Science and TechnologyThe University of NorthamptonNorthamptonUK
  2. 2.RSPB UK HeadquartersBedfordshireUK

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