Once again eBird data and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology studies highlight the importance of forest conservation for species survival.
Birds are among the first to let us know when the environment is out of whack. But predicting what might happen to bird populations is tricky. Studies often focus on a single issue or location: breeding grounds or wintering grounds, changes in climate, loss of habitat. But in the real world, nothing occurs in isolation. A new study just published in the journal Global Change Biology pulls the pieces together.
“This is really the first study to measure the combined impact of climate change and land-use change over a bird’s full annual cycle,” says lead author Frank La Sorte at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Typically, studies tend to focus on the breeding season. If you do that, you’re missing the real story which is inherently dynamic and complex.”
The study merges projections for climate change with land-use change to model what the future might look like for 21 species of forest birds. Scientists ran dozens of scenarios to learn which combinations of factors would make this group of flycatchers, vireos, and warblers—all of which breed in eastern North America and winter in Central America—even more vulnerable to population decline. Continue reading