Why Birds MatterAvian Ecological Function and Ecosystem Services

Why Birds MatterAvian Ecological Function and Ecosystem Services

Çagan H. Sekercioglu, Daniel G. Wenny, and Christopher J. Whelan

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780226382463

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Birds are conspicuous, ubiquitous, and arguably the best studied group of vertebrates on the planet. Birds are also observed by millions of passionate birdwatchers worldwide. Birds engage in numerous and important ecosystem functions. Birds plant forests, devour pests, pollinate flowers, and scavenge carrion. Investigation of these ecosystem functions directly as ecosystem services has grown immensely over the last two decades. The services provided by birds are crucial to understand their importance for ecosystems and for the people that benefit from them. The chapters in this volume describe in detail many of the ecosystem services provided by birds. The examples throughout this book suggest that birds’ ecological roles, and, therefore, ecosystem services are critical to the health of many ecosystems and to human well-being. With understanding and valuing bird services we may assess the environmental consequences of bird declines and extinctions and communicate these findings to the public and policy makers. Thus we may support the conservation of birds and their habitats.

Table of Contents

Chapter One Bird Ecosystem Services

Christopher J. Whelan, Çağan H. Şekercioğlu, and Daniel G. Wenny

Chapter Two Why Birds Matter Economically

Matthew D. Johnson and Steven C. Hackett

Chapter Three Trophic Interaction Networks and Ecosystem Services

Christopher J. Whelan, Diana F. Tomback, Dave Kelly, and Matthew D. Johnson

Chapter Four Pollination by Birds

Sandra H. Anderson, Dave Kelly, Alastair W. Robertson, and Jenny J. Ladley

Chapter Five Seed Dispersal by Fruit-Eating Birds

Daniel G. Wenny, Çağan H. Şekercioğlu, Norbert J. Cordeiro, Haldre S. Rogers, and Dave Kelly

Chapter Six Dispersal of Plants by Waterbirds

Andy J. Green, Merel Soons, Anne-Laure Brochet, and Erik Kleyheeg

Chapter Eight Ecosystem Services Provided by Avian Scavengers

Travis L. DeVault, James C. Beasley, Zachary H. Olson, Marcos Moleón, Martina Carrete, Antoni Margalida, and José Antonio Sánchez-Zapata

Chapter Nine Nutrient Dynamics and Nutrient Cycling by Birds

Motoko S. Fujita and Kayoko O. Kameda

Chapter Ten Avian Ecosystem Engineers

Chris Floyd and Kathy Martin

Chapter Twelve Why Birds Matter

Çağan H. Şekercioğlu, Daniel G. Wenny, Christopher J. Whelan, and Chris Floyd

End Matter