14 Jun 2010

Alliance for grasslands

The Southern Cone Grasslands Alliance is protecting birds like the Bobolink. Image: kellycolganazar; flickr
By Martin Fowlie

The Alliances initiative for the conservation of the South American Southern Cone grasslands was launched by organisations dedicated to the conservation and study of wild birds in the four South American countries which share the great biome of the 'Pampas' or grasslands of the Southern Cone of the continent.

These organisations are BirdLife Partners: Aves Argentinas, Aves Uruguay, SAVE Brazil, and Guyra Paraguay. Each national organisation makes a particular effort within the their own country and they all work together to promote their work.

Other organisations in the Northern Hemisphere are making similar efforts to focus the attention of conservationist organisations and farmers on the conservation of the great prairies.

Many bird species use these prairies and the southern grasslands throughout the year. Migrant species like Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda, Swainson Hawk Buteo swainsoni, the Buff-Breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis, or the Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus have their breeding period in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, but they migrate to the southern pampas in winter (where they again enjoy the summer season).

This is a challenge on a continental level, the Southern Cone initiative interacts and works with organisations like National Audubon Society (Birdlife Partner in the U.S.), the U.S. Forest Service, the Northern Prairies Action Plan and Pronatura (BirdLife in Mexico).

Recently the alliance has been working to establish ' Standards of Excellence for the Management and Quality of Natural Grasslands Beef in the Southern Cone of South America'. This will enable the Alliance for the Grasslands to recognise, guarantee and certify products that are friendly towards the conservation of natural farmland and its biodiversity.

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