June 02, 2009
"We looked at bird species across the whole network of protected areas in Africa and the results show that wildlife conservation areas will be essential for the future survival of many species of birds,” said Dr. Stephen Willis from Durham University. "Important Bird Areas (IBAs) will provide new habitats for birds that are forced to move as temperatures and rainfall change and food sources become scarce in the areas where they currently occur. Protected areas are a vital conservation tool to help birds adapt to climate change in the 21st century."
Violet Turaco native to west tropical Africa. Photo by: Jeff Whitlock.
The study, published in Ecology Letters found that the region’s bird diversity is likely to change significantly. In some ecosystems, half of the makeup of bird species would shift as current species move to find more suitable climates and other species take their place. The good news is that current protected areas should serve most species.
Blue-winged goose is endemic to Ethiopia and listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN. Photo by: Nik Borrow.
Unfortunately, almost half of all IBAs currently lack any form of legal protection. The researchers believe added protection to these IBAs—as well as additional protected areas—will be essential to saving Africa’s birds.
"Looking after IBAs is vital for the future of our wildlife. Protecting the natural resources and services provided by these ecosystems is vital for people too. Healthy ecosystems are the first line of defence against the impacts of climate change for many of the world's poorest people,” said Ruth Davis, head of climate change at RSPB.
On top of climate change, Africa’s birds are also threatened by spreading agriculture, logging, alien species, and hunting.
Bird migrations lengthen due to global warming, threatening species
(04/15/2009) Global warming is likely to increase the length of bird migrations, some of which already extend thousands of miles. The increased distance could imperil certain species, as it would require more energy reserves than may be available. The new study, published in the Journal of Biogeography, studied the migration patterns of European Sylvia warblers from Africa to breeding grounds in Europe every spring. They discovered that climate change would likely push the breeding ranges of birds north, causing migrations to lengthen, in some cases by a total of 250 miles.
Global warming drives birds north
(02/11/2009) Nearly 60 percent of the 305 species found in North America in winter have shifted their ranges northward by an average of 35 miles, according to an assessment by the Audubon Society.
52% of amphibians, 35% of birds at risk from climate change
(10/08/2008) 52 percent of the amphibians, 35 percent of birds and 71 percent of reef-building coral are "particularly susceptible" to climate change, warns an IUCN report.