January 12, 2015 - THE NETHERLANDS - A mouse plague has caused so much damage to grasslands in the northern Netherlands that the barren pasture is visible from space.
The mice population in the province of Friesland has “exploded” following last year’s hot, dry summer and mild winter, with rodents tunneling under pasture and eating grass roots.
Satellite images show damage to more than 12,000 hectares (29,652 acres) of fields, Wageningen University’s research institute Alterra wrote in a report in its website.
|Damage in Mice Fries grassland|
|Movements in the index of green grass for a plot with mice damage (the tip) and a plot mice without damage (the ball), from the Groenmonitor.nl|
|DMC satellite photo of October 3, 2014 with the black circles in the first perceptible mice damage|
|DMC satellite photo of November 1, 2014 with the black circles observable mice damage|
|DMC satellite on December 28, 2014 with the acreage mice damage|
Friesland accounts for about 19 percent of Dutch pasture and is home to 18 percent of the Netherlands’ dairy cattle, according to data from statistics office CBS.
The mice are killing the grass, leaving pasture dead and brown, Alterra said.
|The satellite photo of 18 September shows at first glance not see anything special.
Just because we know that we can later a mouse infestation |
takes place afterwards still recognize three small spots where the grass is already compromised.
|On the satellite picture of November 2, the mice damage is already visible on a large scale on the grassland in the two black circles|
|The satellite image from 25 December shows a dramatic deterioration of the situation (the white spots are clouds).|
“Mouse damage has increased explosively in large parts of southern Friesland,” Alterra wrote.
It’s possible the mice population covers larger areas, but that the grass damage is “not yet sufficient that it can be mapped with satellite imagery.” - Bloomberg.