Matt MacGillivray/CC BY 2.0.The resplendent quetzal faces increased competition from other birds and drier habitat due to global warming.
You might think birds, of allanimals, 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 intoextinctionby 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 toÇağan Şekercioğluof 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 journalBiological 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 600-900extinctionsof 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 futurehabitat loss, each degree of surface warming could lead to approximately 100-500 additionalbird extinctions.”
caspar s/CC BY 2.0.A red-capped manakin. Some manakin species in Brazil could lose up to 80 percent of their habitat.
The new article, which updates previousresearchfrom 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 byclimate 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 Timespoints 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
Share on social media:
You may also like:
Nic Slocum is an experienced naturalist and wildlife guide and is best known for his escorted tours taking enthusiasts out, both in Ireland and overseas, to view and photograph whales and dolphins. Nic maintains a lifelong passion for using the written word to promote the conservation of our wildlife and wild places and has appeared as an expert commentator on both radio and TV. A zoologist by training, Nic has published articles on conservation related issues in regional and national newspapers. Nic is a director of Whale Watch West Cork.com and Whales World Wide.com
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- Saudi authorities sound warning on illegal hunting in rented farms [1489 Views]
- POLL: Should the harvesting of wild turtles be banned? [915 Views]
- POLL: Should this Canadian pipeline project be scrapped to save killer whales? [870 Views]
- The man saving 30,000 seabirds [787 Views]
- 7 stunning forest birds we could soon lose forever [738 Views]
- Another Hen Harrier shot dead sparking fears for rare bird of prey [663 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [658 Views]
- POLL: Should the bear bile trade ban be strictly enforced? [636 Views]
- 13 birds that aren’t for the faint of heart [633 Views]
- POLL: Should hare coursing be banned in Ireland? [544 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- White Killer Whale Adult Spotted for First Time in Wild [41916 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16649 Views]
- POLL: Should the annual Canadian seal hunt be banned? [14027 Views]
- POLL: Should fur farming be banned in the European Union? [13443 Views]
- POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [11093 Views]
- POLL: Should driven grouse-shooting be banned? [8457 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [8416 Views]
- POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? [8287 Views]
- POLL: Should black bears be killed for Royal Guards’ fur caps? [8019 Views]
- POLL: Should China’s dog meat festival be banned? [7319 Views]