OCT 27, 2020 12:32 PM PDT

Bird abundance falling in remote parts of the Amazon

A new study published in Ecology Letters has documented a consistent fall in biodiversity in the Amazon. The scientists who conducted the study at Louisiana State University say that this trend is particularly notable among birds and aligns with global trends.

The team collected data from a remote part of the Amazon rainforest, north of Manaus, Brazil, as part of the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project. Lead author Phillip Stouffer has been working in the region since 1991 monitoring birds. The professor at the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources commented: "What we think is happening is an erosion of biodiversity, a loss of some of the richness in a place where we would hope biodiversity can be maintained."

In order to address this concern, the team conducted an analysis comparing data over 35 years and 55 sites.

"It's a very robust dataset from a variety of places collected over many years. It's not just some fluke. It looks like there's a real pattern and it looks like it could be linked to things we know are happening with global climate change that are affecting even this pristine place," comments co-author Stephen Midway, who is an assistant professor in LSU’s Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences.

Stouffer explained that he and his students began to notice the absence of certain bird species year after year. "Our nostalgia was correct -- certain birds are much less common than they used to be," Stouffer said. "If animal patterns are changing in the absence of landscape change, it signals a sobering warning that simply preserving forests will not maintain rainforest biodiversity."

Photo: Pixabay

The scientists also found that generally speaking, birds that live on or near the forest floor where they forage on arthropods, mostly insects, are declining in abundance. Meanwhile, birds that also eat fruit are increasing in abundance. While this finding shows a glimmer of hope in certain species’ resiliency, the authors are particularly concerned that such stark declines in population are so significant even in remote areas that are supposedly untouched by human factors.

"The idea that things are changing, even in the most pristine parts of our planet yet we don't even know it, illustrates the need for us to pay more attention," Stouffer said.

Sources: Ecology Letters, Science Daily

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
AUG 03, 2020
Plants & Animals
Pollutants, Pathogens and Toxins Found in Shellfish
AUG 03, 2020
Pollutants, Pathogens and Toxins Found in Shellfish
Scientists used cutting edge technologies to assess how pervasive toxic or household chemicals and pathogens like plasti ...
AUG 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
The megadrought that ended the Green Sahara
AUG 21, 2020
The megadrought that ended the Green Sahara
Imagine Northern Africa, now inhabited by the desiccated Sahara desert, as a green oasis, covered by plants and trees. T ...
SEP 06, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Can we decrease fertilizer needs by modifiying plant proteins?
SEP 06, 2020
Can we decrease fertilizer needs by modifiying plant proteins?
Plants have natural fertilizers built into their physiological structures, reports new research published in the journal ...
SEP 21, 2020
Neuroscience
Scientists Compare Structural and Functional Evolution with First Atlas of Cavefish Brains
SEP 21, 2020
Scientists Compare Structural and Functional Evolution with First Atlas of Cavefish Brains
Cavefish are fish that dwell in caves, unable to access the outside world. Often, they were separated from their closest ...
OCT 15, 2020
Health & Medicine
An Estimated 38 Million People were Exposed to Polluted Wildfire Smoke
OCT 15, 2020
An Estimated 38 Million People were Exposed to Polluted Wildfire Smoke
As wildfires continue to burn record-breaking acreages along the west coast of the United States and inland regions, hos ...
NOV 13, 2020
Earth & The Environment
What the cylones of the past can tell us about the cyclones of the future
NOV 13, 2020
What the cylones of the past can tell us about the cyclones of the future
Research from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has reconstructed the patterns of historical tropical cycl ...
Loading Comments...