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Kukuza Hali ya Kibayolojia Kwenye Mashamba Madogo Ya Mahindi

Sean Lyon, Erwin Kinsey na Dk Kristen Page; wasiliana na mwandishi: slyon@fieldmuseum.org; Nakala hii imetafsiriwa na Miriam Solomon Mollel

In East Africa, agricultural practices to maximize production have greatly diminished biodiversity, reducing the functioning of ecosystem services valuable to human and landscape health. Primary research about the impact of avian biodiversity on crop production in maize fields in Arusha, Tanzania is limited. To clarify this impact, I selected fields along a north-south transect in the Afromontane Dry Transitional Forest vegetation zone west of the town of Ngaramtoni. At each farm, I identified the abundance and diversity of birds using point-count surveys for a total of 40 minutes of count-time per survey site. Each farmer whose field was surveyed participated in an interview about crop production and described their attitudes towards biodiversity of trees and birds. The most abundant bird species was the pied crow (Corvus albus, 30.4%), followed by the baglafecht weaver (Ploceus baglafecht reichenowi, 17.6%). Each farmer cultivated an average field size of 0.65 hectares. Ten of twelve farmers planted the trees surrounding their field, regardless of ownership status, and most trees were nonnative. These results indicate that local agrobiodiversity is dominated by introduced and generalist species, but that farmers have significant potential as agents of ecological change. These findings are of utmost importance to both farmers and development workers, clarifying that bird biodiversity is a foundation for the future of crop productivity in a changing landscape where smallholder farmers are making decisions of ecological importance.