Whole ecosystems are shifting dramatically north in the Great Plains, a phenomenon likely linked to human influences such as climate change, says new University of Nebraska-Lincoln research that analyzed nearly 50 years’ worth of data on bird distributions.
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[00:00:01.760]Birds are helping researchers figure out
[00:00:04.480]what's happening to plant and animal life
[00:00:06.810]in the Great Plains,
[00:00:08.340]with implications for Nebraska's economy.
[00:00:11.590]Bird communities are moving north.
[00:00:15.170]and his colleagues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
[00:00:17.850]analyzed data from a national survey
[00:00:20.410]that tracks bird populations
[00:00:22.180]between the Gulf of Mexico and Canada.
[00:00:25.470]Bird behavior suggests ecosystems,
[00:00:28.270]communities of plants and animals, are also shifting north.
[00:00:33.220]This front of invasion,
[00:00:35.560]as we picked up as these moving regime boundaries,
[00:00:39.480]has moved from 1966 being in the sort of Central
[00:00:43.130]or Southern Kansas.
[00:00:44.980]In 50 years, it's moved into Southern Nebraska.
[00:00:49.280]What's driving the change?
[00:00:50.760]There's probably multiple causations,
[00:00:53.340]but the directional change that's happening
[00:00:56.700]is really consistent with climate-driven change,
[00:01:00.210]in one way, sort, or another.
[00:01:02.270]Information from the study
[00:01:03.580]provides early warning of ecosystem collapse.
[00:01:07.020]We can potentially provide years
[00:01:09.580]or even decades of early warning to places
[00:01:12.840]that this regime change is coming.
[00:01:14.690]And people can adapt and mitigate and plan.
[00:01:18.690]Nebraskans may want to take action
[00:01:21.100]to prevent the northward march of the Eastern red cedar.
[00:01:24.870]The invasive species leads a change
[00:01:27.420]from grasslands to woodlands.
[00:01:29.840]Where the landowners and folks who are ranching
[00:01:33.570]value grassland, putting fire in is a relatively easy way
[00:01:38.590]to prevent and to even kill red cedars
[00:01:42.040]as long as they don't get too tall.
[00:01:44.430]Information from the study could help protect
[00:01:46.930]Nebraska's way of life.
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