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Posted Tue Mar 8 2011: from PNAS, via New Scientist:
Bird boom in wake of mad cow outbreak
Mad cow disease in Europe seems a world apart from the lives of sparrows in North American pastures. But populations of sparrows and other pasture birds boomed three years after outbreaks of the disease hit Europe, according to a new study by Joseph Nocera and Hannah Koslowsky of Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.... To keep beef on consumers' tables, the affected countries import more meat, and many of those imports come from the US and Canada.... This in turn leaves more natural vegetation for grassland birds such as sparrows and meadowlarks, which respond with a population boom a year after that. There's nothing particularly surprising in any of this - every step in the causal link between BSE and the sparrows is exactly what one might have predicted. But by putting it all together and backing it up statistically, the pair provide an unusual and striking illustration of the way globalisation weaves the planet into a single fabric of cause and effect.
[Read more stories about: bird collapse, corporate farming, ecosystem interrelationships]

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'Doc Michael says:
Other times, cause and effect can kick you in the jujubes.

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