Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protected areas provide African birds with stepping stones to survival

20.06.2013
The protected area network in Tanzania is playing a vital role in the survival of savannah bird species as they move west in response to climate and environmental changes, according to new research led by the University of York.
Using data on savannah birds from the Tanzanian Bird Atlas project - which has documented Tanzanian bird distributions over recent decades - the researchers found that they are using protected areas as stepping stones as they move to areas further west where dry seasons are getting longer, with movements of up to 300km noted.

Much debate has centred on the effectiveness of the current protected area network to protect biodiversity in the face of climate and environmental changes.

However, the new study, which is published in Ecology Letters, not only provides the first evidence of climate-driven shifts for an African bird community, but suggests that continued maintenance of existing protected areas – which include national parks and game reserves – remains an appropriate response to the challenge of climate and environmental changes.

Lead author Dr Colin Beale, from York's Department of Biology, said: "Although the protected area network was set up for mammals, our research shows it is assisting dry bush species of birds to respond to land degradation, caused by over-grazing, conversion to crops and the loss of trees, as well as climate change.

"We discovered that rather than declining in value as birds move in response to climate changes, protected areas in Tanzania are becoming increasingly valuable as land degradation exerts pressures elsewhere. Our research suggests that protected areas are buffering the bird community against extinction due to land degradation and offer stepping stones for species that are altering their distribution in response to climate change."

The study, which also involved researchers from Queens University Belfast and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, compared data for 139 Tanzanian savannah bird species, such as hornbills, francolins, the Rufous-tailed Weaver, Fischer's Sparrowlark and the Pangani Longclaw. Data from 1960 to 1989 was compared to data post 2000.

Unlike previous assessments of the efficiency of the protected area network in the face of climate change, the new study is based on observed changes rather than modelling.

Neil Baker, from Tanzania Bird Atlas, said: "This study once again emphasises the value of the long term collection of reliable, meaningful data and the vital role of the citizen scientist. Indeed, with so few professionals in the Afrotropics this is the only way to collect this information. With the accuracy of satellite derived variables improving and with widespread use of hand held GPS units, georeferenced observations will allow even more accurate assessments of population movements in the near future."

Co-author Dr Jack Lennon, from the School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, said: "Our main discovery is that conservation investment in protected areas is paying off, even for species that are not the main reason for having them. As environmental change continues it is likely that the importance of protected areas as a refuge against extinction elsewhere will increase."

The study was funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship from the EU held by Dr Beale, with additional funding from the Rural and Environmental Research and Analysis Directorate of the Scottish Government.

Caron Lett | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.york.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>