Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alpine Bird Numbers On The Slide Due To High-altitude Ski Runs

Date:
January 17, 2007
Source:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Summary:
High-altitude ski runs are seriously affecting Alpine birds, ecologists have found for the first time. Writing in the January issue of the Journal of Applied Ecology, Italian ecologists warn that ski pistes above the tree line result in fewer species and lower numbers of birds compared with natural grassland at similar altitudes. Ski developers should use new, environmentally-friendly techniques when constructing pistes in future, they say.

High-altitude ski runs are seriously affecting Alpine birds, ecologists have found for the first time. Writing in the January issue of the Journal of Applied Ecology, Italian ecologists warn that ski pistes above the tree line result in fewer species and lower numbers of birds compared with natural grassland at similar altitudes. Ski developers should use new, environmentally-friendly techniques when constructing pistes in future, they say.

According to Professor Antonio Rolando and colleagues from Turin University: "Winter sports represent a potentially serious threat to the conservation of wildlife habitat in the Alps. Bulldozers and power shovels are used to remove soil and provide suitable slopes for skiers. To a lesser extent, vegetation may also be damaged by skiing and ski-piste preparation by snow-grooming vehicles. The ski pistes that we sampled were devastated environmental patches, from which shrubby and herbaceous native vegetation had been removed and/or severely damaged and artificial seeding - if any - had produced very poor grass cover."

Working at the top of the Susa Valley - the site of last year's Winter Olympics - and around the Monte Rosa and Monte Bianco massifs in the western Italian Alps, the team measured the number of birds and the number of bird species at seven sites between 2010 metres and 2892 metres.

They found that, compared with natural grassland, ski pistes had fewer species and lower numbers of birds. Areas next to ski pistes also suffered, supporting lower numbers of birds. They found fewer arthropods on the ski pistes, suggesting that a shortage of food may be responsible for so few birds occurring on these sites.

"More than one-quarter of the 26 bird species in this study - including the rock partridge, the red-billed chough and the wheatear - are classified as species of European conservation concern," Professor Rolando says.

As winter snowfall at lower altitudes becomes less reliable, high altitude alpine areas are increasingly important to the skiing industry. To allow birds and skiers to co-exist, developers will have to change their practices. According to Professor Rolando: "Retaining the bird life of these zones is likely to involve developing new, environmentally-friendly ways of constructing pistes, such as only removing rocks or levelling the roughest ground surfaces in order to preserve as much soil and natural vegetation as possible."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Alpine Bird Numbers On The Slide Due To High-altitude Ski Runs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070116205514.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. (2007, January 17). Alpine Bird Numbers On The Slide Due To High-altitude Ski Runs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070116205514.htm
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Alpine Bird Numbers On The Slide Due To High-altitude Ski Runs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070116205514.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — We all know that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables but do you know which ones are the best for you? Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bad Memories Turn Good In Weird Mouse Brain Study

Bad Memories Turn Good In Weird Mouse Brain Study

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) — MIT researchers were able to change whether bad memories in mice made them anxious by flicking an emotional switch in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Couples Who Smoke Weed Together Stay Together?

Do Couples Who Smoke Weed Together Stay Together?

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) — A study out of University at Buffalo claims couples who smoke marijuana are less likely to experience intimate partner violence. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) — A panda in China showed pregnancy symptoms that disappeared after two months of observation. One theory: Her pseudopregnancy was a ploy for perks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins