INSTITUTO DE DIVERSIDAD Y ECOLOGIA ANIMAL
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Response of the endemic Long-tailed Meadowlark (Sturnella loyca obscura) to grazing exclusion in herbivore-dependent upland grasslands
BELLIS, L. M.; MURIEL, N. T.
Lugar: Collingwood; Año: 2015 vol. 115 p. 176 - 176
In grassland ecosystems livestock grazing is one of the main habitat-modifying activities, leading to positive or negative effects on birds. In the High Mountains of Córdoba, Argentina, livestock grazing began early in the 17th century, causing severe soil erosion. To restore the grasslands, livestock were excluded from a large area in 1997; however, the impact of grazing exclusion on endemic birds is not clear. We evaluated the effect of grazing exclusion on density (using Distance software) and habitat attributes of Long-tailed Meadowlark populations. The highest density was recorded in ungrazed sites. Fitted models explained up to 75% of the variability in Long-tailed Meadowlark density. Litter depth, percentage of bare soil (with positive effects), soil compaction (estimated as impedance) and percentage of moss cover (with negative effects) were the most important variables explaining the variation in the estimated bird density. We concluded that 11 years of grazing exclusion favoured Meadowlark populations, providing greater availability of resources, mainly those related to soil quality. Hence, we recommend promoting alternative management practices, such as reintroduction of large native herbivores where possible and livestock grazing at reduced stocking rates, to counterbalance the cost of soil loss and the benefit that large herbivores provide to the system.