Intensified Agricultural Use Of Grasslands Reduces Growth And Survival Of Precocial Shorebird Chicks

1614 Words Mar 5th, 2016 null Page
Kentie, Rosemarie. 2013. Intensified agricultural use of grasslands reduces growth and survival of precocial shorebird chicks. Journal of Applied Ecology 50: 243–251 .

Article summary: The researchers behind this article investigated the impact of grassland use in the Netherlands, specifically agricultural monoculture for raising dairy animals, on numbers of farmland bird species. They used Limosa limosa limosa as their model species and found that there were significant differences between those that hatched in agricultural monocultures versus herb-rich meadows with high groundwater tables. Some of these significant differences included bill length, weight at fledging, and especially survival rate for the first year of life. This was 2.5 times higher in birds that hatched in meadows versus the monocultures. The researchers theorize that these differences are due to higher rates of starvation and predation, and indicate that current conservation methods are inadequate. Personal summary: I was interested in the recommendations of the researchers behind this article, as this seems to be important data for use in conservation efforts. For example, one conservation strategy that is being used is delayed mowing, but 40% of that delayed mowing was carried out while half of these birds had yet to fledge. The authors recommend that in addition to nest protection effort such as delayed mowing, there should also be efforts to maintain herb-rich meadows with high groundwater…

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