|Town/Region||Cerros de Vera, Salto|
|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||17 Jan 2004|
Habitat loss is the most important proximate factor causing current avian population declines worldwide. In the Neotropics, grasslands are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems, as almost no pristine grasslands remain anywhere in this region, and all are threatened to some degree. The Pampas grasslands of south-eastern South America, harbour a rich avifauna represented by 110 grasslands species. The Pampas have very favourable conditions for farming, and accordingly, a huge agricultural expansion began in the late XIX century. This has resulted in conversion of large areas to cropland, replacement of tall grass by short grass communities, and introduction of exotic plant species. Today, agriculture is widespread and undisturbed grasslands are largely restricted to a few protected areas. The loss of pristine habitats has caused population reductions of many birds, and 15 species are considered of global conservation concern, including several endemic birds.
Even though South American grasslands and their threatened avifauna have been highlighted as research and conservation priorities, grassland bird research in the Western Hemisphere, has concentrated largely in North America. In the Pampas, in contrast, only limited research has been conducted and conservation action targeting grassland birds has been almost nonexistent. One factorlimiting conservation is a general lack of ecological information. The general objective of this project is to provide a sound understanding of the ecology of Pampas´ birds inhabiting both altered and natural grassland habitats and to apply this knowledge to specify management guidelines aiming to improve the birds’ conservation status.
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