Preserving vanishing wetlands could help offset effects of long-term increases in temperature and precipitation, researchers suggest.
The grasslands of the Canadian Prairies are a hidden gem for bird watchers, with millions of migratory birds passing through the area each year. But they are also one of the most transformed landscapes in the world, vanishing more quickly than the Amazon rainforest, as they are swallowed up for other uses, such as agriculture and industry.
Scientists are concerned that these already stressed grasslands may not be able to cope with rapid and ongoing climate change. Canada’s prairie grasslands are expected to get warmer and wetter over time, but there will also be rapid swings between wet and dry conditions and seasonal variability.
These shifts have strong links to plant growth, seed production, insect emergence and the region’s suitability to plants and animals.
As these changes take hold, there will be winners and losers. A w...