Projected Effects of Climate Change on Birds at U.S. National Parks

The National Audubon Society (Recipient) recently completed an analysis of climate change impacts on North American birds (Langham et al 2015).

The study used Audubon Christmas Bird Count and North American Breeding Bird Survey data, in combination with detailed climate data and projections,

to estimate the current and future ranges of birds throughout the continental United States and Canada.

The analysis covered all birds for which sufficient data were available to build robust statistical models (588 in total, 503 winter species and 475 summer species).

Results suggest that winter species richness will increase over much of the continent, whereas summer richness will decline over much of the conterminous United States and increase in more northern latitudes.

In addition to projecting continental-scale changes in species ranges, as reported above, the Recipientâ¿¿s suite of climate projections can be summarized at local scales to characterize changes in relative suitability over time and across future scenarios, an approach developed for Acadia National Park (Fisichelli et al.

2014) and used for two species at Voyageurs National Park.

This approach can be useful to guide species, guild, or habitat-focused management as it summarizes how climate change may impact biota at a local management scale.

Bird species and assemblages are fundamental resources at many parks, and a majority of natural resource parks of the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program (189 of 270 parks, 70%) track bird population trends as a â¿¿vital signâ¿¿.

Near-future bird climate suitability projections can be used to examine ongoing changes in bird populations and inform hypotheses behind these trends.

Model projections are also useful for educating the public about the potential impacts of climate change on species they may observe in parks.

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