Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Kazakhstan’s steppe birds face new declines

16.08.2011
Landscape ecologists from Münster analyse consequences of agricultural changes in the steppes of Kazakhstan / Indigenous bird populations of Kazakhstan’s unique feather-grass steppe are facing new declines

After a period of recovery over the past 20 years, indigenous bird populations of Kazakhstan’s unique feather-grass steppe are now facing new declines. This is the conclusion arrived at by a team of scientists led by Prof. Norbert Hölzel and Johannes Kamp from the Institute of Landscape Ecology at Münster University. For the first time, the scientists have estimated the population densities of various steppe birds in relation to land use and vegetation in northern Kazakhstan. Drawing on these data they have made forecasts for developments in the future.

Between 1954 and 1960, during the Khrushchev era, around 25 million hectares of steppe land in northern Kazakhstan were transformed into wheat fields. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union this process – which was accompanied by soil erosion and a massive loss of biodiversity – has been partially reversed. After the collapse of large state-subsidized farms in the early 1990s over 10 million hectares of arable land were abandoned. This development was accompanied by a drastic reduction in livestock numbers.

“The extensive areas of abandoned land are not only a fascinating landscape,” says Johannes Kamp. “They are also of outstanding importance for numerous rare and endangered species of the steppes – including demoiselle cranes, pallid harriers and black larks.” However, as a result of the worldwide rise in demand for agricultural land to produce cereals and energy plants, there has for some years now been a renewed increase in the use of abandoned land, which is putting pressure on many rare and endangered species. “If the current development continues many bird populations will decline. For the sociable lapwing, for example, we forecast a drop in the population of almost 30% over the next ten years, and a 10% decrease for the black lark. So, in our view, when it comes to measures for wildlife conservation farmers should think about intensifying the use of the land currently used for agricultural purposes, instead of reactivating abandoned land. This would be a way of counteracting the predicted decline in bird populations.”

Johannes Kamp, who is doing a PhD at the Institute of Landscape Ecology, has been examining the consequences of land use change in Kazakhstan for two years now, having been commissioned to do so by Europe’s largest nature conservation organization, Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the Kazakh partner organization, the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan. The work is being funded by the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative. The joint project aims to create large protected areas to help preserve the last steppe ecosystems of western Eurasia, along with their characteristic animal species.

Research and environmental measures are to be strengthened locally both by involving Kazakh students in the research work in the field and by working closely with Kazakh NGOs. Results of the research have now been published online in the journal “Biological Conservation”.

Reference:

Kamp J. et al. (2011): Post-Soviet agricultural change predicts future declines after recent recovery in Eurasian steppe bird populations. Biological Conservation (online first); doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.07.010 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320711002631

Dr. Christina Heimken | Uni Münster
Further information:
http://www.uni-muenster.de
http://www.uni-muenster.de/Oekosystemforschung/en/mitarbeiter/hoelzel.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>