Climate change is impacting conservation sites across the Americas
A continent-wide network of conservation sites is likely to remain effective under future climate change scenarios, despite a predicted change in the distribution of key species.
New research, led by Durham University and published in the journal Frontiers in ecology and evolution, studies the impacts of potential climate change scenarios on the network of Important Birds and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) in the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The research was conducted in collaboration with the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center, BirdLife International and the National Audubon Society.
IBAs are sites identified as being of international importance for the conservation of bird populations, with more than 13,000 sites identified in 200 countries over the past 40 years. Many are covered by formal protected areas, while others are conserved by community-managed reserves or indigenous lands.
Two of the main responses of species to recent climate change events are changes in range and abundance, leading to global reshuffling of populations.
Range changes can cause species to disappear from areas they occupy, while providing opportunities for them to colonize new sites.
This redistribution could affect the ability of international networks of sites (including protected areas) to conserve species. Therefore, it is important to identify which sites will continue to provide suitable conditions and which are at risk of becoming unsuitable for effective conservation planning as our planet continues to warm.
Estimating the impact of climate change on the distribution of species, and the consequences for networks of sites identified to conserve them, can help inform conservation strategies to ensure that these networks remain effective.
The research modeled the effects of different climate change scenarios on the larger network.
It determined that, for 73 percent of the 939 species of conservation concern for which IBAs have been identified, more than half of the IBAs in which they are currently found are expected to remain climate-adapted, and for 90% of the species, at least a quarter of the sites remain suitable.
These results suggest that the network will remain robust in the face of climate change. Of concern, however, is that seven percent of species of conservation concern are not expected to have an appropriate climate in the IBAs currently identified for them.
Professor Stephen Willis, Director of Research in the Department of Biosciences at Durham University, said: “The Caribbean and the region of Central and South America are home to around 40% of all bird species in the world, this network is therefore vital for a large part of the world’s birds. .
To develop realistic predictions of future changes, we have considered not only where the suitable climate will occur for species in the future, but also the likelihood that species will disperse to newly suitable sites.
This information helps identify potential management strategies across the IBA network. “
Stuart Butchart, Chief Scientist at BirdLife International and co-author of the study, said, “These findings underscore how critical it is to effectively conserve the network of areas important to birds and biodiversity across the Americas in order to to contribute to the protection of birds in the region. under climate change.
“Despite projections of significant changes in the distribution of individual species, the network as a whole will continue to play a key role in future conservation efforts.”
Aurelio Ramos, Senior Vice President of Audubon International Alliances, said: “Applying this science to secure and strengthen IBAs in the Americas is essential to supporting the future of birds and humans. Audubon, BirdLife International, American Bird Conservancy and REDLAC have partnered in the Americas on a project to strengthen the protection of climate-secure IBAs identified in research titled Conserva Aves ”
Alke Voskamp of the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center added: “The results of this study underscore the importance of a network-wide perspective when making conservation management decisions for individual sites when planning for climate change. ”
The researchers note that the designation of protected areas to safeguard biodiversity is a cornerstone of species conservation and the importance of considering local environmental management decisions and their impacts on larger global conservation networks. has never been so relevant.
For more information, please contact Professor Stephen G Willis on +44 (0) 191 33 41379 or email [email protected]
You can also contact the Durham University Marketing and Communications Office at [email protected]
On-site conservation of land bird species in the Caribbean and Central and South America under climate change: http: // newspaper.
Available via this Dropbox link: https: /
Credit – Professor Stephen Willis
Useful web links
Profile of Professor Stephen Willis: https: /
Profile of Dr. Stuart Butchart: https: /
Profile of Alke Voskamp: https: /
About Durham University
Durham University is a world-class educational and research center based in the historic city of Durham in the United Kingdom.
We are a collegiate university committed to inspiring our people to do exceptional things in Durham and around the world.
We conduct groundbreaking research that improves lives around the world and we are ranked among the top 100 universities in the world with an international reputation in research and education (QS World University Rankings 2021).
We are a member of the Russell Group of Britain’s leading research-intensive universities and are consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in national rankings (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, Guardian University Guide and The Complete University Guide).
For more information on Durham University, visit: http: // www.
END OF PRESS RELEASE: Posted by Durham University Marketing and Communications Office – http: // www.
Warning: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of any press releases posted on EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information via the EurekAlert system.