It is becoming increasingly clear that the grasslands are no longer a source of food for the vast majority of birds, with scientists revealing that the songbirds are not able to feed on them.
In a study published in Nature on Wednesday, scientists from the University of Cambridge found that the abundance of the grasses that make up grassland habitat has dropped by around 30 per cent over the last three decades.
The findings suggest that as much as 70 per cent of the species on Earth are now confined to areas of limited grasslands, with only around 30 to 50 per cent surviving in the wild.
“We found that grasslands no longer provide any benefit for grass-eating birds, and they are declining fast, which means that many grasslands will disappear before they reach the next extinction stage,” said lead author Dr Simon Wood, a lecturer in ecology at the University.
“In the past, the grassbirds were in a good position to benefit from the grass-dwelling habitats, which provided some food and water for them.”
In fact, researchers say that the current situation is unlikely to improve any time soon.
“It’s not going to get better, and there’s not much that we can do about it.
They’ve already had the extinction of their last great range, and the grass and tree habitats are already in decline,” Dr Wood said.”
The grasslands have been losing so much biodiversity that they are effectively disappearing, and it’s really a bit like going back in time.”
Dr Wood said that over the next few years, he hoped to work with the BirdLife Australia conservation agency to help them find solutions to their plight.
“This is a really important situation for us, as it means that we need to find the right solutions to the grass loss and the loss of biodiversity,” he said.
BirdLife Australia is working with the National Parks Service to develop a plan to improve grassland biodiversity.
“While we have made a lot of progress in the past decade, there are still too many areas of the country still without suitable grassland, and we need a solution,” said BirdLife Director, Phil Leech.
“With the right action plan, we can ensure that grassland is the future for all species of birds.”
Topics:birds,birdlife,bird,environment,climate-change,environmental-impact,birds,environment-management,climate,ecology,environmentaustraliaContact: Simon WoodContact: Elizabeth LlewellynMore stories from Victoria