From the red grouse to the Ethiopian bush-crow, bird populations around the world can provide us with vital insights into the effects of climate change on species and ecosystems. They are among the best studied and monitored of organisms, yet many are already under threat of extinction as a result of habitat loss, overexploitation and pollution. Providing a single source of information for students, scientists, practitioners and policy-makers, Birds and Climate Change begins with a critical review of the existing impacts of climate change on birds, including changes in the timing of migration and breeding and effects on bird populations around the world. The second part considers how conservationists can assess potential future impacts, quantifying how extinction risk is linked to the magnitude of global change and synthesising the evidence in support of likely conservation responses. The final chapters assess the threats posed by efforts to reduce the magnitude of climate change.
Foreword Michael B. Usher
1. Birds and climate change
Part I. Impacts
2. Altered timings
3. The impact of altered timings
4. Further mechanisms of population impacts
5. Effects of climate change on distributions and communities
Part II. Conservation Responses
6. Using models to predict the effects of climate change on birds
7. Conservation in a changing climate
8. Effects of climate change mitigation on birds
9. Overall conclusions
James Pearce-Higgins is a Principal Ecologist at the British Trust for Ornithology, where he leads on climate change research across the organisation and manages the Population Ecology and Modelling team. He is responsible for a range of research projects to examine the evidence for climate change impacts on biodiversity, undertaking projections of future responses and conducting research to inform how conservation should adapt to climate change.
Rhys E. Green is Principal Research Biologist at The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Honorary Professor of Conservation Science at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on measuring the effects of human land use, disturbance, illegal killing, climatic change and conservation management on the demography of bird populations, using the insights this provides to devise conservation programmes.
"Over twenty years ago, when I first became interested in the impacts of climate change on wild plants and animals, the literature was limited and the field wide open. Now it is very hard to keep up. This marvellous book is exactly what I need to feel on top of the subject once more, and needs to be read not just by ornithologists, but by all ecologists struggling to understand and predict the impacts of climate change on the living world. The authors are two world-leaders on the impacts of climate change on birds. The text summarises the effects of climate change that have already happened, seeks to predict what we can expect in the future, and considers what conservation biologists can do to mitigate its effects. The coverage is comprehensive, and skilfully distils a large and complicated literature into a compelling [...] narrative."
- John Lawton, Chairman, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Vice-President, RSPB
"Climate change is emerging as the biggest threat to nature worldwide and one of the most challenging to understand and address. This book synthesises the state of knowledge on these issues for birds: the best-known wildlife group, and one that can provide insights and solutions for biodiversity more generally. The chapters go beyond the well-documented effects of climate change on phenology to consider the impacts on demography and distributions, and the knock-on effects for ecological communities. Most useful for the conservation community are the chapters synthesising approaches to safeguarding species and important sites under a changing climate, including consideration of the impacts of mitigation measures. Through combining an exhaustive review of the scientific literature, novel insights, helpful summaries, informative graphics and accessible language, this book will be the first one I turn to when wanting to find out more about climate change impacts on birds and the implications for conservation."
- Stuart Butchart, Head of Science, BirdLife International
"Ongoing climate change has already had substantial impacts on the natural world. In birds, it affects the timing of their breeding and migrations, their numbers and distribution patterns. This book provides the most thorough and detailed review of this rapidly expanding research area yet published, and discusses various conservation measures that can be taken to mitigate the increasing impacts of climate change. This book provides not only a thorough review of the main known impacts of climate change on bird populations, but also fresh analyses of the wealth of data now available from around the world. It also provides detailed assessments of measures that might be taken to help birds through this period of dramatic environmental change. The authors ably synthesise known information regarding birds and climate change, undertake new analyses of the data, and assess the conservation measures that might be taken to minimise the effects on bird populations."
- Ian Newton, Emeritus Fellow, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
"The science is well-explained and if you want to understand how climate change is already affecting birds, and how it will in future, as well as how scientists study these matters, then [this] is a book for you."
- Mark Avery, former Conservation Director, RSPB
"[...] The book provides an invaluable resource for both scientific and lay audiences on the observed and projected impacts of climate change on our avifauna, and how these impacts can be reduced by appropriate adaptation and mitigation. This excellent book is highly recommended."
- Rachel Warren, BTO book reviews