Yellow-breasted Bunting: uplisted to Critically Endangered, consumption and trade go on, but there is hope
Yellow-breasted Bunting, once a superabundant songbird species, has declined by 85-95% since the early 1980s, with heavy, illegal persecution in China being an important driver. The species' status has recently been updated to Critically Endangered on IUCN's international Red List, based on a quantitative assessment of the decline led by Johannes Kamp of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group.
However, birds are still caught and sold in larger numbers, even on eBay-like platforms in China. A price of 15-30 USD per bird suggests high demand. Good news is that conservation organizations along the flyway are raising awareness, see e.g. this excellent video from Hongkong. Also, the Chinese law has been changed, and hunting and consumption are now criminal offences.
More research is underway to shed light on the year-round distribution and flyways of the species. Data on migration routes have been retrieved from geolocator devices by Wieland Heim. This will help us to identify key areas for conservation of the species, and learn more about potential additional drivers of the decline, such as land-use change and agricultural intensification on the wintering grounds.
New Publications at the ILÖK
- Quichimbo, P., Jiménez, L., Veintimilla, D., Tischer, A., Günter, S., Mosandl, R., Hamer, U. (2017): Forest Site Classification in the Southern Andean Region of Ecuador: A Case Study of Pine Plantations to Collect a Base of Soil Attributes. Forests 8, 473. doi: 10.3390/f8120473
- Oldeland, J.; Große-Stoltenberg, A.; Naftal, L.; Strohbach, BJ (2017): The Potential of UAV Derived Image Features for Discriminating Savannah Tree Species. In Diaz-Delgado R.; Lucas R.; Hurford C (Eds.): The Roles of Remote Sensing in Nature Conservation (pp. 183-201). Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-64332-8_10
- Schmidt, J.; & Hauck, J. (2017): Implementing green infrastructure policy in agricultural landscapes—scenarios for Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Reg Environ Change. doi: 10.1007/s10113-017-1241-2
- Meira-Neto, J.A.A.; Nunes Alves da Silva, M.C.; Soares Tolentino, G.; Gastauer, M; Buttschardt, T.K.; Ulm, F.; Máguas, C. (2017): Shading, nitrogen and soil texture rule a sandy savanna: does facilitation rule its patchy physiognomy as well? Flora. doi: 10.1016/j.flora.2017.11.007
- Klaus, V. H.; Hoever, C. J.; Fischer, M.; Hamer, U.; Kleinebecker, T.; Mertens, D.; Schäfer, D.; Prati, D.; Hölzel, N. (2017): Contribution of the soil seed bank to the restoration of temperate grasslands by mechanical sward disturbance. Restoration Ecology. doi: 10.1111/rec.12626
- Ivanova, L.; Yudina, P.; Ronzhina, D.; Ivanov, L.; Hölzel, N. (2017, in press): Quantitative mesophyll parameters rather than whole-leaf traits predict response of C3 steppe plants to aridity. New Phytologist doi: 10.1111/nph.14840
Klaus-Holger Knorr has qualified as a professor
Dr. rer. nat. Klaus-Holger Knorr (Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry Research Group)was awarded the Venia legendi for Biogeochemistry by the Department of Geosciences on 29.11.2017 with a cumulative thesis on the topic:"Using organic matte quality, stable isotopes, and electron transfer processes as tools to understand mechanisms of element cycling in wetlands". Congratulations!
The Ecohydrology & Biogeochemistry group in the EGU Imaggeo blog
A photograph of one of the field sites of the Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry Group was selected for the Imaggeo-blog of the EGU (European Geosciences Union). Here, scientists provide insights into their ongoing work using selected photographs and in a language also accessible for the broad public audience.
IALE-D yearly conference on water and landscape in Münster
From the 20th to 22nd of September the Research Group Applied Landscape Ecology and Ecological Planning hosted the annual conference of the German Region of the International Association for Landscape Ecology with an overlying topic on water and landscape (Wasser.Landschaft).
About 80 people from all over Germany participated in the conference containing manifold topics. The presentations and posters covered a variety of themes from hydronumeric simulation of model conform replacing structures; microplastics; renaturation and maintenance practices of waters; to issues of water culture or ecosystem services. ...read further.
New Publication about modelling invader impact in dune ecosystems
A new study about modelling the impact of the invasive, nitrogen (N)-fixing shrub Acacia longifolia on N cycling in a nutrient-poor dune ecosystem was published by André Große-Stoltenberg and Dr. Jan Thiele of the research group Ecological Planning within the projects DeInVader (funded by EUFAR) and QUEEN (DFG) in the journal “Scientific Reports”. The team presents a new approach. Read further... The university paper published a short article Link.
New research project: Investigation of historical land use in the Biodiversity Exploratories
In the current phase of the DFG priority programme 1374 'Exploratories for large-scale and long-term functional biodiversity research' (2017-2020), Dr. Jan Thiele (Research Group Applied Landscape Ecology and Ecological Planning) got a grant for a project on effects of historical land use on species communities in grasslands (HiLUCC) that will be carried out in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Weisser, TU Munich. In this project, previous land use - dating back to ca. 1850 - around study plots (1-km radius) will be digitalised from historical maps. We will study if the land-use history of grassland plots as well as the historical landscape structure continue to have an effect on today's species communities. For example, fragments of previously large grassland areas may have an extinction debt. On new grassland parcels, species richness might depend on the presence of larger grassland areas and, thus, large species pools in the past. There will be possibilities to conduct MSc. theses in the frame of this projcet, e.g. on landscape change in the study areas Schorfheide-Chorin and Schwäbische Alb.
The HiLUCC project is situated in the research topic "Detection of landscape changes" of the Research Group Applied Landscape Ecology and Ecological Planning.