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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Bird communities in future bioenergy landscapes of the Upper Midwest
Year: 2010
Author(s): Meehan, T. D., Hurlbert, A. H, Gratton, C.
Source Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Source Type: Journal
pages: 18533-18538
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Mandates for biofuel and renewable electricity are creating incentives for biomass production in agricultural landscapes of the Upper Midwest. Different bioenergy crops are expected to vary in their effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Here, we use data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey to forecast the impact of potential bioenergy crops on avian species richness and the number of bird species of conservation concern in Midwestern landscapes. Our analysis suggests that expanded production of annual bioenergy crops (e. g., corn and soybeans) on marginal land will lead to declines in avian richness between 7% and 65% across 20% of the region, and will make managing at-risk species more challenging. In contrast, replacement of annual with diverse perennial bioenergy crops (e. g., mixed grasses and forbs) is expected to bring increases in avian richness between 12% and 207% across 20% of the region, and possibly aid the recovery of several species of conservation concern.