Grassland bird experts seek solutions at national gathering

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ImageThis week leading grassland bird conservationists in the U.S. are wrangling with the drastic challenges faced by declining grassland bird populations. In a symposium at The Wildlife Society’s national annual conference, experts are looking for new solutions to the long-term problem of diminishing grassland habitat that supports breeding birds. In the face of new national policies and market forces that are rewarding row-crop plantings and rapidly eroding habitat, grassland ecologists are looking new approaches. VCE biologist Rosalind Renfrew participated in a panel of speakers that discussed topics that included better integrating sociology in conservation, examples of niche marketing, understanding the market forces currently faced by farmers, and conservation that is better coordinated and more efficiently targeted. Renfrew also held a workshop to obtain feedback on a “Prairie to Pampas” business plan for conservation of migratory grassland bird populations, the development of a Bobolink Conservation Plan, and a new project to model the impacts of climate change on several grassland bird species. All experts agreed that coordination and effective triage/prioritization of grassland research and conservation is sorely needed to most effectively respond to the ever-increasing range and intensity of threats faced by grassland birds.

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