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      Projected Impacts of Climate and Land-Use Change on the Global Diversity of Birds

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      1 , * , 2 , 3 , 2
      PLoS Biology
      Public Library of Science

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          Abstract

          Over the past few decades, land-use and climate change have led to substantial range contractions and species extinctions. Even more dramatic changes to global land cover are projected for this century. We used the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment scenarios to evaluate the exposure of all 8,750 land bird species to projected land-cover changes due to climate and land-use change. For this first baseline assessment, we assumed stationary geographic ranges that may overestimate actual losses in geographic range. Even under environmentally benign scenarios, at least 400 species are projected to suffer >50% range reductions by the year 2050 (over 900 by the year 2100). Although expected climate change effects at high latitudes are significant, species most at risk are predominantly narrow-ranged and endemic to the tropics, where projected range contractions are driven by anthropogenic land conversions. Most of these species are currently not recognized as imperiled. The causes, magnitude and geographic patterns of potential range loss vary across socioeconomic scenarios, but all scenarios (even the most environmentally benign ones) result in large declines of many species. Whereas climate change will severely affect biodiversity, in the near future, land-use change in tropical countries may lead to yet greater species loss. A vastly expanded reserve network in the tropics, coupled with more ambitious goals to reduce climate change, will be needed to minimize global extinctions.

          Author Summary

          Land conversion and climate change have already had significant impacts on biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Using future land-cover projections from the recently completed Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, we found that 950–1,800 of the world's 8,750 species of land birds could be imperiled by climate change and land conversion by the year 2100. These projections are based on the assumption that birds will not dramatically shift their ranges in response to a changing climate, a process that would lessen the range contractions we predict. While climate change will be the principal driver of range contractions at higher latitudes, our projections reveal that land conversion (e.g., deforestation, conversion of grasslands to croplands, etc.) will have a much larger effect on species that inhabit the tropics. This is because birds in the tropics are especially diverse and tend to have small ranges, making them particularly vulnerable to extinction; in contrast, birds at higher latitudes are less diverse and tend to have large ranges. A vastly expanded reserve network in the tropics, coupled with more ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and monitor biodiversity impacts, will be needed to minimize global extinctions.

          Abstract

          Evaluating changes in range size of land bird species using Millenium Ecosystem Assessment scenarios reveals that land conversion, as well as climate change, will lead to the decline of many species, particularly those in the tropics.

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          Most cited references45

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          Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100.

          Scenarios of changes in biodiversity for the year 2100 can now be developed based on scenarios of changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, climate, vegetation, and land use and the known sensitivity of biodiversity to these changes. This study identified a ranking of the importance of drivers of change, a ranking of the biomes with respect to expected changes, and the major sources of uncertainties. For terrestrial ecosystems, land-use change probably will have the largest effect, followed by climate change, nitrogen deposition, biotic exchange, and elevated carbon dioxide concentration. For freshwater ecosystems, biotic exchange is much more important. Mediterranean climate and grassland ecosystems likely will experience the greatest proportional change in biodiversity because of the substantial influence of all drivers of biodiversity change. Northern temperate ecosystems are estimated to experience the least biodiversity change because major land-use change has already occurred. Plausible changes in biodiversity in other biomes depend on interactions among the causes of biodiversity change. These interactions represent one of the largest uncertainties in projections of future biodiversity change.
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            Global hotspots of species richness are not congruent with endemism or threat.

            Biodiversity hotspots have a prominent role in conservation biology, but it remains controversial to what extent different types of hotspot are congruent. Previous studies were unable to provide a general answer because they used a single biodiversity index, were geographically restricted, compared areas of unequal size or did not quantitatively compare hotspot types. Here we use a new global database on the breeding distribution of all known extant bird species to test for congruence across three types of hotspot. We demonstrate that hotspots of species richness, threat and endemism do not show the same geographical distribution. Only 2.5% of hotspot areas are common to all three aspects of diversity, with over 80% of hotspots being idiosyncratic. More generally, there is a surprisingly low overall congruence of biodiversity indices, with any one index explaining less than 24% of variation in the other indices. These results suggest that, even within a single taxonomic class, different mechanisms are responsible for the origin and maintenance of different aspects of diversity. Consequently, the different types of hotspots also vary greatly in their utility as conservation tools.
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              Rapid responses of British butterflies to opposing forces of climate and habitat change.

              Habitat degradation and climate change are thought to be altering the distributions and abundances of animals and plants throughout the world, but their combined impacts have not been assessed for any species assemblage. Here we evaluated changes in the distribution sizes and abundances of 46 species of butterflies that approach their northern climatic range margins in Britain-where changes in climate and habitat are opposing forces. These insects might be expected to have responded positively to climate warming over the past 30 years, yet three-quarters of them declined: negative responses to habitat loss have outweighed positive responses to climate warming. Half of the species that were mobile and habitat generalists increased their distribution sites over this period (consistent with a climate explanation), whereas the other generalists and 89% of the habitat specialists declined in distribution size (consistent with habitat limitation). Changes in population abundances closely matched changes in distributions. The dual forces of habitat modification and climate change are likely to cause specialists to decline, leaving biological communities with reduced numbers of species and dominated by mobile and widespread habitat generalists.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                PLoS Biol
                pbio
                PLoS Biology
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1544-9173
                1545-7885
                June 2007
                5 June 2007
                : 5
                : 6
                : e157
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Division of Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, United States of America
                [2 ] Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America
                [3 ] Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America
                Imperial College, United Kingdom
                Author notes
                * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: wjetz@ 123456ucsd.edu
                Article
                06-PLBI-RA-2067R2 plbi-05-06-18
                10.1371/journal.pbio.0050157
                1885834
                17550306
                da20e5d9-08a3-4e0f-96f6-4cd9ed7ea59c
                Copyright: © 2007 Jetz et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                History
                : 2 November 2006
                : 9 April 2007
                Page count
                Pages: 9
                Categories
                Research Article
                Ecology
                Ecology
                Ecology
                Ecology
                Birds
                Custom metadata
                Jetz W, Wilcove DS, Dobson AP (2007) Projected impacts of climate and land-use change on the global diversity of birds. PLoS Biol 5(6): e157. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050157

                Life sciences
                Life sciences

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