Threats to migration pathways
The fragmentation, degradation and loss of grassland ecosystems in southern South America by human activities are key threats to grassland bird populations. These important habitats are being placed at risk by unsustainable agricultural activities, pollution from pesticides and other agrochemicals, conversion to pasture land for cattle, and the transformation of natural grassland into eucalyptus and pine plantations for paper production. Long distance migrants, such as the buff-breasted sandpiper, are even more vulnerable to habitat loss as they also face stresses on their breeding grounds and along their migration routes.
Opportunities for ecological networks Unlike various waterbird species, many grassland bird species do not usually congregate in great concentrations at discrete sites. Instead, there are areas that attract large numbers of both breeding and non-breeding populations and can be considered as important strongholds for grassland species. The Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS) and the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, in collaboration with BirdLife International and Asociacion Guyra Paraguay, have drawn up an action plan that identifies conservation measures for the protection of these birds and their habitats. The action plan focuses on the identification of new protected areas to create a network of habitats. In addition, it recommends actions to be taken outside of protected areas to help conserve habitat on private lands. International cooperation will also be important to encourage conservation actions at breeding, non-breeding, and migration stopover sites outside of this region.
Figure 21: Migration of grassland birds in America. 57