As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Diversified farming practices might preserve evolutionary diversity of wildlife

September 11, 2014

Stanford University

Tinamus majorPCSL00504B.jpg
The great tinamou is an evolutionary-distinct
bird that declines in farmland but
thrives in tropical rainforest.
Habitat destruction significantly reduces the incidence of evolutionarily distinct species, a long-term study in Costa Rica has revealed. The research suggests alternative land-use practices that sustain farming and biodiversity.

As humans transform the planet to meet our needs, all sorts of wildlife continue to be pushed aside, including many species that play key roles in Earth's life-support systems. In particular, the transformation of forests into agricultural lands has dramatically reduced biodiversity around the world.

A new study by scientists at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, in this week's issue of Science shows that evolutionarily distinct species suffer most heavily in intensively farmed areas. They also found, however, that an extraordinary amount of evolutionary history is sustained in diversified farming systems, which outlines a strategy for balancing agricultural activity and conservation efforts.

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