Bird Loss Trigger Plant Extinction

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Loss of bird species in the world impacted by the destruction of plants because many plants depend on birds for pollination and seed dispersal them. It makes sense if the bird population decline will impact the extinction of plant species such as two types of bird bellbird (Anthornis melanura) and stitchbird (Notiomystis cincta) in a bush in the North Island, New Zealand.

Flower shrub Rhabdothamnus solandir depend on both these birds for pollination. Dave Kelly of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and colleagues compared the plants in the North Island with a nature reserve plants treated well in three small islands where these birds live.

Assisted Hand

The research team has pollinated 79 plants throughout North Island and at three islands where the nature reserve. Then compare the fruit with the fruit of the flower that has not been touched in that location. About 70 percent of the flowers in the North Island and the smaller islands do produce fruit because of pollination. Without this assistance, only 22 per cent interest in the North Island that produces fruit. Clearly much if compared with 58 percent of the island nature reserve.

Fruit in the North Island on average smaller and, on average, produce less than 84 percent fruit seedlings than smaller islands. It was a sign that they are not pollinated seeds to the fullest. Reduced seed production is influenced by population Rhabdothamnus solandri, because there are few young plants in the North Island than in the small islands.

There's Still Time

Kelly believes it is due to lack of pollination by birds. Observations in the field shows up to 80 per cent of birds visiting the flowers where bellbird and stitchbird still developing, but only a quarter of the flower when the birds have disappeared.

"The extinction of plants tend to be slower than animals, because plants are living longer," said Kelly.
"We have time to address it," he said, such as recalculating stitchbirds population and bellbirds in the North Island. He estimates that Rhabdothamnus solandri can live more than 150 years.
"It's really exciting," said Martine Maron, an avian ecologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Bird pollination is responsible for the majority of flowering plants, "this problem may occur throughout the world," he said.
"It's not just about the loss of a species from the earth," added Maron told New Scientist. "The loss of key species from the local area can cause ecosystem collapse."

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