On World Wetland's Day bad news for America's iconic ducks

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
February 02, 2010



World Wetland Day 2010 brings with it new research on America's prairie wetlands and bad news for the country's waterfowl. A new study in BioScience finds that America's prairies are greatly susceptible to climate change: a warmer and drier prairie will desiccate wetlands needed by ducks and other waterfowl for food, shelter, and breeding.

"Unfortunately, the model simulations show that under forecasted climate-change scenarios for this region (an increase of 4-degrees Celsius), the western prairie potholes will be too dry and the eastern ones will have too few functional wetlands and nesting habitat to support historical levels of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species," said Dr. W. Carter Johnson, study author and a researcher at South Dakota State University.

By developing a new and more comprehensive model of climate change impacts on America's prairie—incorporating states like Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, and Iowa—researchers found that the area will likely experience major reductions in water volume.

"Our results indicate that the prairie wetlands are highly vulnerable to climate warming, and are less resilient than we previously believed," said Dr. Glenn Guntenspergen, a U.S. Geological Survey researcher and one of the report authors. "All but the very wettest of the historic boom years for waterfowl production in the more arid parts of the prairie pothole region may be bust years in a 4-degrees Celsius warmer climate."

Not only iconic species for the region, ducks are incredibly popular with hunters in the region.







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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (February 02, 2010).

On World Wetland's Day bad news for America's iconic ducks.

http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0202-hance_ducks.html