The relative impacts of climate and land use change on the global diversity of birds.
Jetz, Walter*,1, Wilcove, David2, Dobson, Andy2, 1 University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA2 Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
ABSTRACT- Over the past few decades habitat loss and climate change have led to significant range contractions and species extinctions. Further, yet more dramatic changes to the global land cover are projected for this century and effective conservation action is contingent on understanding the relative impact of climate change versus land use change on the geographic distributions of species. Here we evaluate the projected landcover change across the current geographic range of all 8,750 species of landbirds under four socioeconomic scenarios. The analysis suggests that by 2100 between 950 and 1,800 bird species will experience dramatic losses in geographic range size; these will be particularly pronounced in species with narrow geographic ranges. Direct human land conversions will dominate range contractions, particularly in the tropics; climate change will have more pronounced effects in higher latitudes. The species that are most vulnerable to these changes are only poorly identified by the current threat categorizations. The causes, magnitude and geographic patterns of potential range loss vary across the four socioeconomic scenarios considered in our analysis, some regions and taxa are under threat in all of them. The results link political decisions to their impact on global biodiversity and provide timely taxonomic and geographic guidance for decision-makers, conservation practitioners and ecologists.
Key words: environmental change, species conservation, extinctions
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