Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Birds in Flint Hills of Kansas, Oklahoma face population decline despite large habitat

05.03.2009
The wide-open spaces of the Flint Hills may no longer provide a secure home on the range for several familiar grassland birds, according to research by a Kansas State University ecologist and her colleagues.

The researchers found that three bird species common to the Flint Hills region of Kansas and Oklahoma are experiencing serious population decline in the face of extensive land-management practices like annual burning and widespread grazing

The Flint Hills contain the largest remaining tracts of tallgrass prairie, a habitat that once covered much of the Great Plains but of which only 4 percent is now left, mostly in the Flint Hills. Far from being pristine prairie, however, the Flint Hills region supports a major cattle industry and is intensively managed.

"Because of its size, the Flint Hills is assumed to be a population stronghold for grassland birds," said Kimberly With, a K-State associate professor of biology who led the study. "Mostly this has been based on bird counts, but they can be misleading because they don't show what the region is capable of producing. Birds are very mobile and thus birds could come from elsewhere to give the appearance of a stable population year after year. This is especially true if the region attracts birds because of its size, but birds do not breed successfully once they settle here."

With was joined by ecologists Anthony King from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and William Jensen, a former postdoctoral researcher in With's lab at K-State. They conducted a two-year study of regional viability of three grassland birds: the dickcissel, grasshopper sparrow and eastern meadowlark. With and her colleagues found that none of these bird species is viable in the 4 million-acre Flint Hills region. They estimated population declines of as much as 29 percent per year during the years studied.

The results were published in December 2008 in the journal Biological Conservation, http://tinyurl.com/cza3xy

"Although considered to be relatively common, all three of these species have been exhibiting declines at a continent-wide level," With said.

According to a 2007 report by The National Audubon Society, two of these species -- the grasshopper sparrow and eastern meadowlark -- have lost 62 percent and 75 percent, respectively, of their global population in the past 40 years.

With and her colleagues found that birds are not breeding successfully in the Flint Hills. With said that more than 80 percent of nests were destroyed by predators. They also found that birds nesting in native prairie hayfields were more successful than birds nesting in grazed grassland. She said this might be because in the Flint Hills, the hayfields were mown later than in other prairie regions, enabling birds to finish nesting before the nests are mowed under.

"These hayfields are a less disturbed habitat than other managed grasslands in the Flint Hills, 90 percent of which is grazed and up to two-thirds may be burned," With said.

The researchers suggest that land-management practices may offer only part of the explanation for declining bird populations.

"There was a drought one of the two years we studied the birds, and in that year birds didn't do well anywhere," With said. "Under global climate change, we may see more prolonged droughts and less frequent, but more intense storms. If rain comes as intense storms with hail, that could be just as lethal to the birds."

With said that more study is needed before recommendations can be made to help manage these bird populations. But she said that the results are still valuable because -- like a canary in a coal mine -- birds indicate a region's overall environmental health.

"The cattle industry is important economically to the region," With said. "The region is also ecologically important. The challenge is to what extent you can successfully achieve these joint aims of agriculture and conservation within the Flint Hills."

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service's National Research Initiative Managed Ecosystems Program.

Kimberly With | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.k-state.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Coorong Fish Hedge Their Bets for Survival
27.03.2015 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Greener Industry If Environmental Authorities Change Strategy
27.03.2015 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Gemeinsam auf der Suche nach Wirkstoff gegen MRSA

Neues Projekt bündelt Kompetenzen des HZI und des Lead Discovery Center in Dortmund

Krankenhauskeime stellen in Deutschland ein immer größeres Problem dar. Der Grund: viele von ihnen sind resistent gegen die meisten herkömmlichen Antibiotika....

Im Focus: Rostocker Forscher entwickeln Mess-System für Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalten

Durch wissenschaftlich fundierte Daten der Forscher um Professor Nils Damaschke vom Institut für Allgemeine Elektrotechnik der Universität Rostock wird es künftig möglich, die Propellerform für Schiffe so zu optimieren, dass weniger Kraftstoff verbraucht und der Propellerverschleiß auf Grund von Kavitation reduziert werden kann. Die Wissenschaftler arbeiten inzwischen an der weiteren Verfeinerung eines kommerziellen Mess-Systems für die weltweit agierenden Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalten.

Kleinste Partikel spielen im täglichen Leben eine immer größere Rolle. Ob es sich um Schadstoffe in der Luft (Feinstaubbelastung) oder Zerstäubungsprozesse...

Im Focus: Den Synapsen bei der Arbeit zusehen

Göttinger Forscher beobachten Synapsenaktivität im Gehirn lebender Fruchtfliegen

Wissenschaftler der Universität Göttingen haben mit einer neuen Methode die Aktivität von Nervenzellen im Gehirn lebender Fruchtfliegen beobachtet. Bislang...

Im Focus: FiberLab-Roboter begeistert auf Photonics West in San Francisco

Mit ihrem „humanisierten“ Roboter zeigten Anna Lena Baumann und Wolfgang Schade erstmalig die erfolgreiche Umsetzung der 3D-Navigation über eine neuartige Lasermethode, der Standard Single-Mode-Glasfaser. Mehr als 17.000 Teilnehmer konnten den Roboter und FiberLab, das erste Projekt des Photonik Inkubators in Göttingen, auf der Photonics West in San Francisco kennen lernen.

Mit Hilfe eines in die Kleidung eingenähten Fasersensors wurden Armbewegungen eines Probanden dokumentiert und nach entsprechender Auswertung an den Roboter...

Im Focus: Femto Photonic Production: Neue Verfahren mit Ultrakurzpulslasern für die Fertigung von morgen

Für die deutsche Wirtschaft spielt die Lasertechnik eine herausragende Rolle: Etwa 40 Prozent der weltweit verkauften Strahlquellen und 20 Prozent der Lasersysteme für die Materialbearbeitung stammen aus Deutschland.

Beim Einsatz von Lasern in der Produktion sind deutsche Unternehmen führend. Diese Stärken gilt es zu erhalten und auszubauen. Deswegen hat das...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Premiere für die "innteract conference"

30.03.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Startup Weekend: In 54 Stunden von der Gründungsidee zur Firmengründung

30.03.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Große Bühne für Wissenschaft in drei Minuten

30.03.2015 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Clearstream eröffnet neues Büro in Zürich

31.03.2015 | Unternehmensmeldung

Einfluss von Materialporen beim Crash-Verhalten von Automobilbauteilen

31.03.2015 | HANNOVER MESSE

Ausschreibung Deutscher Journalistenpreis Neurologie 2015: Mensch im Blick – Gehirn im Fokus

31.03.2015 | Förderungen Preise