Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Warns Climate Change and Deforestation will Lead to Declines in Global Bird Diversity

05.06.2007
Global warming and the destruction of natural habitats will lead to significant declines and extinctions in the world’s 8,750 terrestrial bird species over the next century, according to a study conducted by biologists at the University of California, San Diego and Princeton University.

Their study, the first global assessment of how climate change and habitat destruction may interact to impact the distribution of a large group of vertebrates over the next century, appears in the June 5 issue of the journal PLoS Biology.

The scientists warn in their study that, even under the most optimistic scenarios of controlling climate change and protecting habitats, at least 400 bird species are projected to become imperiled by the year 2050 due to reductions in their geographic ranges of greater than 50 percent. All estimates in the study are based on the assumption that birds will not dramatically shift their geographic ranges in response to a changing climate.

“We found in our study that under certain assumptions by the year 2100, 950 to 1,800 bird species may be imperiled or even driven to extinction by climate change and habitat destruction,” says Walter Jetz, an assistant professor of biological sciences at UCSD and the lead author of the study. “Most of these species are currently not recognized as imperiled.”

“It’s clear that both climate change and habitat destruction pose grave threats to many of the world’s birds and, by analogy, to other species as well,” says David Wilcove, a professor of ecology, evolutionary biology and public affairs at Princeton University and a co-author of the study. “Neither problem can be addressed in a vacuum.”

Climate change and deforestation have already been implicated in the extinctions and geographical range reductions of many terrestrial species of vertebrate animals in recent decades. But the researchers point out that based on global warming and deforestation projections this loss of diversity appears to be accelerating. “Even more dramatic environmental change is projected for this century,” they write in their paper.

To estimate the impact of climate and land use changes in their study, the researchers combined information on four projections of future global warming, agricultural expansion and human population growth from the global Millennium Ecosystem Assessment with current geographic ranges of the world’s 8,750 species of terrestrial birds.

“The most intense climate change is expected at higher latitudes, where birds are relatively species-poor and have large ranges,” says Jetz of UCSD. “Dramatic levels of deforestation and other forms of land conversion are projected to continue or even increase in much of the tropics. There birds and most other taxonomic groups are especially diverse and tend to have small ranges, making them particularly vulnerable to extinction.”

The researchers say that in the near future more bird species may be imperiled by deforestation than by the change of their habitat due to climate change. But together these two factors will be devastating for bird populations.

“This is akin to killing two birds with one stone,” says Wilcove of Princeton. “Deforestation drives tropical species to extinction and also contributes to global climate change. Climate change, in turn, drives temperate species to extinction. The good news is that by halting deforestation we can protect both tropical and temperate birds.”

The researchers say a vastly expanded network of wildlife reserves in the tropics, coupled with more ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and monitor the biodiversity impacts of climate change, will be needed to minimize global extinctions.

“The tragic irony here is that the protection of tropical forests is also one of the strongest buffers against future climate change,” says Andrew Dobson, the third author of the paper and a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton. “It is crucial that international environmental policy be swiftly developed to focus both on climate change and on habitat loss; the two are not only intimately related, but are arguably the greatest threats not only to birds, but also to human welfare and economic well-being.”

“These hundreds of bird species headed toward extinction are like thousands of dying canaries in coal mines,” Dobson adds. “It's time we paid attention to them."

“Billions of philanthropic and government dollars are spent annually on clearly crucial biomedical research to avert the future impacts of diseases,” says Jetz of UCSD. “Yet, the support for the necessary research and development to deal with the looming biodiversity crisis, and its multi-fold effects on human well-being, remains at abysmal levels. Drastically increased support for field surveys and impartial biodiversity research is needed to avoid future generations rightfully asking uneasy questions about the limited scope of today’s science support.”

The researchers say their study may also help future investigations because it introduces a novel way of combining geographic socioeconomic projections with biodiversity information.

“Our analysis is only a starting point, but with the increased quality of models and data our approach may offer a powerful, general way for a continued assessment of the future of biodiversity,” says Jetz.

Kim McDonald | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>