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Ski runs a hazard for bird communities

Skifahrer

Skipisten in den Hochalpen sind eine ernsthafte Bedrohung für die Vogelwelt. © www.oekologische-forschung.de

According to a report compiled by ecologists at the University of Turin/I in the Journal of Applied Ecology, high-altitude alpine ski runs are posing a serious threat to bird communities.
Compared with plots located in natural grasslands, plots located near ski runs not only supported a significantly lower bird density but also fewer bird species overall. Not a single bird was spotted in one third of the ski runs, and in areas adjacent to ski-runs, bird numbers were lower than in undisturbed areas.
To prevent further decimation among the bird population the researchers recommended the use of more environmentally friendly ways of constructing pistes. Instead of levelling the entire subsoil, the scientists proposed that only obstructing rocks be removed, and as much soil and natural vegetation as possible be preserved. Existing pistes should be restored to promote the recovery and maintenance of local vegetation, and provide a natural habitat for the birds. Source and information: www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j (en)