Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Risco ambiental para pássaros migratórios na América latina

From United Nations Environment Program [UNEP]

New action plan for migratory grassland birds of South America

Asunción/Bonn, 15 December 2010 – The rich grasslands of South America,
home to one of the world’s most valuable ecosystems, are fast disappearing.
As a result, migratory grassland birds, which play a key environmental role
by dispersing seeds and controlling insects, are also rapidly declining in
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

In order to reverse this trend, the Convention on Migratory Species of the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/CMS), in collaboration with
BirdLife International and Asociación Guyra Paraguay, have adopted an
action plan for urgent conservation measures to ensure the survival of
these birds and their habitats. The agreement was the result of a one-day
meeting in Asunción, Paraguay, between government representatives,
scientists and conservationists.

CMS Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema said: “The CMS action plan
does not only address threats to migratory grassland birds in South
America. By preserving their habitat, we safeguard many other endangered
species. At the same time we help mitigating climate change because it aims
to conserve the grasslands that produce oxygen and act as carbon sinks.”

Grassland birds are the gardeners of this formerly rich ecosystem. However,
their habitats in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay have
been destroyed in recent years due to agricultural and aquacultural
activities as well as the timber industry.

Agriculture, in particular the cultivation of soya, has put these important
ecosystems at risk as pollution from pesticides and other agrochemicals are
carried by drainage and eventually end up in marshes and wetlands.

In addition the natural grasslands are being converted into pastures for
cattle and meat export to the world’s markets and pastures are frequently
burnt to accelerate the food supply for grazing cattle.

The afforestation of pampas with eucalyptus and pine trees also contributes
to widespread habitat loss. This monoculture of non-endemic trees drains
valuable wetlands, crucial for species conservation, to satisfy the global
demand for paper.

The grassland bird species covered under the CMS agreement are also
highly-prized as caged song birds. Many have been illegally captured and
kept in cages in private households all over the world.

A major priority of the CMS action plan is protecting and managing the
habitats for these migratory grassland birds. New protected areas will be
identified to create a viable network of ecosystems and the conservation of
the birds needs to be included in their management plans.

Financial incentives will also be made available to local cattle ranchers
who must take into account the ecological needs of the overall species in
the grasslands, with particular regard to the critical habitats of the most
endangered birds.

Monitoring and research of grassland biodiversity will now be coordinated
among the countries to collect data on distribution, population counts,
abundance and the conservation status of birds, frogs, butterflies and
other insects. This will help to close knowledge gaps on migration routes
of the birds and conservation needs of their habitats. In addition, an
international bird ringing programme is implemented, where small,
individually numbered tags are attached to the birds’ legs to track their
movements and identify threats along their flyways.
Threat assessment is another component of the CMS action plan. Studies will
be conducted in the next five years to determine the impact of chemicals
and fertilizers on bird populations. The volume and geographical scale of
illegal trade in bird species needs to be assessed to consider

Awareness raising and capacity building are necessary to involve local
communities to ensure long-term results. Training courses on best practices
and tailored conservation will target educators, journalists, producers and
rural associations. Campaigns will promote appreciation of endangered bird
species and their habitats and discourage the illegal trade in the species.

International cooperation between the countries needs to be enhanced
towards developing a legal framework for the preservation of grasslands in
unprotected areas. In order to reduce direct threats to grasslands,
countries will develop policy guidelines for fire management.

Migratory grassland birds are even more vulnerable to habitat loss than
sedentary species. As a consequence, they are dependent on conservation
action at breeding, wintering and migration stopover sites.

The Buff-breasted Sandpiper breeds in summer along Arctic coasts from
central Alaska, USA to Canada and covers a distance of 20,000 kilometers to
its wintering sites in South America to feed and recharge its batteries.

The Saffron-cowled Blackbird has declined due to man-made threats including
stock-raising, cultivation, pesticides, burning, plantations of pine and
eucalyptus, drainage and settlement. Population estimates today range from
2,500-10,000 mature individuals.

The adoption of the action plan marks the beginning of a series of critical
conservation activities to the benefit of the species. Argentina, Bolivia,
Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay will now increase their collaboration to
restore population numbers and critical habitats in South America to save
these living exotic jewels.

Notes to Editors:
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species is an
intergovernmental treaty concluded under the United Nations Environment and
focusing on the conservation of migratory species and their habitats. CMS
concluded the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Southern
South American Migratory Grassland Bird Species and their Habitats in 2007.

Conservation Status:
Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis), Chestnut Seedeater (
Sporophila cinnamomea), Cock-tailed Tyrant (Alectrurus tricolor),Eskimo
Curlew (Numenius borealis), Marsh Seedeater (Sporophila palustris),
Rufous-rumped Seedeater (Sporophila hypochroma), Strange-tailed Tyrant
Alecturus risora, Saffron-cowled Blackbird (Agelaius flavus), Zelich's
Seedeater (Sporophila zelichi)

Bearded Tachuri (Polystictus pectoralis pectoralis), Dark-throated
Seedeater (Sporophila ruficollis)

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Chestnut Seedeater, Eskimo Curlew, Rufous-rumped
Seedeater, Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Zelich's Seedeater

Eskimo Curlew, Saffron-cowled Blackbird

For more information please contact:
UNEP/CMS Secretariat, Veronika Lenarz, Public Information, Tel.:
or e-mail:,

Jim Sniffen
Programme Officer
UN Environment Programme
New York
tel: +1-212-963-8094/8210