You might think birds, of all animals, could just pick up and move if their environment changes in a way not to their liking, but global warming poses a very real threat to the avian world: Scientists say climate change is likely to drive up to 900 bird species into extinction by the end of the century unless additional conservation measures are taken.
Tropical bird species are particularly vulnerable because they are adapted to living in a stable climate, where temperatures do not vary wildly throughout the year, according to Çağan Şekercioğlu of the University of Utah, the lead author of “The effects of climate change on tropical birds,” a scientific review of some 200 separate studies published recently in the journal Biological Conservation.
100-500 More Extinctions For Each Degree Of Warming
Surface warming of 3.5 degrees Celsius — the middle range of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s latest estimate — by the year 2100 “may result in 600-900 extinctions of land bird species, 89 percent of which occur in the tropics,” Şekercioğlu and his co-authors Richard Primack and Janice Wormworth write. “Depending on the amount of future habitat loss, each degree of surface warming could lead to approximately 100-500 additional bird extinctions.”
The new article, which updates previous research from 2007, looks at different categories of birds (such as “aquatic birds in the tropics,” “arid zone species,” and “birds in human-dominated landscapes”) to assess which will be the most affected by climate change. It also examines how global warming compounds other threats, including habitat loss, hunting, invasive species, pollution, and disease.
Habitat Loss Dramatically Compounds The Problem
“[I]n some cases habitat loss [from agriculture and development] can increase bird extinctions caused by climate change by nearly 50 percent,” Şekercioğlu says, calling for further research to be conducted, degraded habitat to be restored, and more land to be protected.
It’s not just birds that are at stake. “Farmers, hunter-gatherers, nomadic herders, and others, especially in less developed countries, depend on a healthy environment, and birds are important for ecosystem services like seed dispersal and insect control,” The New York Times points out in an article about the study.
And as Şekercioğlu told the paper: “If this is happening to birds, and they can migrate, then for other organisms, it’s going to be worse.”
Published in www.treehugger.com
Leave a Comment
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should the Faroe Islands’ whale slaughter be allowed to continue? » [6611 Views]
- POLL: Should animals be trophy hunted to support conservation? » [1520 Views]
- POLL: Should China’s shameful tiger farms be closed down? » [1502 Views]
- POLL: Should the annual slaughter of migrating birds be allowed to continue? » [1300 Views]
- POLL: Should the trophy hunting of grizzly bears be banned? » [663 Views]
- Lemmings fuel biggest snowy-owl migration in 50 years » [661 Views]
- Komodo and its Dragons » [656 Views]
- Petition: Stop the illegal killing of birds in Southern Europe » [646 Views]
- Israel sets an example in the protection of migrating birds » [542 Views]
- POLL: Should fur farming in Finland be banned? » [467 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- POLL: Should the Slaughter of Grouse be allowed to continue? » [33361 Views]
- POLL: Should bear hunting be banned in the US? » [26796 Views]
- Massive Bird Slaughter Around the Mediterranean – Shocking Photos » [11727 Views]
- POLL: Should China’s shameful tiger farms be closed down? » [11239 Views]
- Petition: Stop Lion Canned Hunting in South Africa – Shocking Video » [7463 Views]
- POLL: Should the fox-hunting laws in the UK be relaxed? » [6916 Views]
- POLL: Should the Faroe Islands’ whale slaughter be allowed to continue? » [6612 Views]
- POLL: Should the Dolphin Slaughter in Taiji Cove be stopped? » [5202 Views]
- Trophy Hunting in Africa – Wildlife Slaughter in Graphic Images » [4971 Views]
- Wildlife Photography – Ethics and Conservation Issues? » [4725 Views]