|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||16 Jun 2005|
The Rolling Pampas landscape has been intensely modified by agriculture and livestock in the last 100 years. Change from beef production to intensive agriculture has considerably reduced the remnant grassland areas, which were maintained at important levels in the livestock-agriculture scheme. Furthermore, agricultural area was recently increased by removing wire-rows and by cultivating road set-a-side, which reduced even more the habitats for birds and small mammals. The avian community of the Rolling Pampas is one of the most threatened grassland bird communities in the world. According to Birdlife International (2000) criteria, 15 species are listed on one of four special conservation categories, and 41% of the regional species pool depends on natural grasslands as primary habitats. The importance of corridors, fence- hedge-rows as critical habitats for diversity conservation has been highlighted in many investigations. Landscape heterogeneity, in terms of patchiness and fragmentation, has also been indicated as an important determinant of biodiversity at landscape level. Thus, the main objective of this study will be to determine in which extent agricultural landscape heterogeneity affects local bird communities in agricultural and non-agricultural sites and define landscape scenarios that enhance their conservation.
The more practical objective of this project will be to define a series of recommendations for governmental and non-governmental entities for bird and biodiversity conservation in the region. These will be based on well-designed ecological observational experiments, where identification (through proper statistical techniques) of the most important local or landscape variables that relate to the presence of particular species of conservation interest or to high levels of biodiversity will be possible. This type of study is one that is being carried out in many parts of the world. Thus, we will be contributing to a larger body of ecological knowledge whose main objective is also the most adequate management of natural communities in anthropogenic landscapes. This study will be paralleled by another in which vegetation will be surveyed. Consequently, we will be comparing patterns among taxa and will be able to define the most adequate indicator (or indicators) at the taxonomic level for further monitoring in the region. Monitoring, ultimately, should provide guidelines for adaptive management to changing land-use conditions.
For further information contact: