New 50-year study offers insight into effects of climate on bird reproduction
Beyond effects of a warming climate on individual species’ reproductive output, the study also considered whether climate change may affect offspring production by interacting with other attributes of the birds…
Warming temperatures also were associated with less offspring production among relatively large birds. These changes were not necessarily caused directly by climate change but by the effects of climate change on the life histories and ecological traits of species that influence clutch size and rates of nesting failure over time…
Future of many North American crops may depend on ground beetles’ response to climate change
By analyzing data on 136 different ground beetle species from diverse habitats across continental North America, Puerto Rico and Hawaii, the researchers found that a species’ odds of success in a changing climate depend on several core traits, such as its habitat preference, body size, and whether it flies, burrows, climbs, or runs.
“We found that less mobile, nonflying ground beetles, which are critical pest control agents, are more likely to decline over time in a warmer, dryer climate,” said Tong Qiu, assistant professor of multifunctional landscapes at Penn State, who led the study. “That means you’re going to have more pests that can impact agricultural and forest ecosystems…”
Migratory birds can partially offset climate change
“Understanding how animals can compensate is an important part of understanding where the impacts of climate change will play out,” said Marra. “In this case, we may not lose a species entirely, but it is possible that populations of some species may go extinct locally due to climate change…
“The good news is that birds are able to respond to changes in their environment,” Dossman said. “They have some flexibility and variation in their behaviors to begin with, but the question is, have they reached the limit of their ability to respond to climate change?”…
Sustaining biodiversity requires a big-picture vision. Our projects are strategically positioned across Canada, the United States and Mexico to preserve nature at a continental scale.
Using the principles of conservation biology, our founders identified the core native wildlife habitat areas and the corridors that connect them. We call them Wildways. This innovative concept has fundamentally shaped conservation projects across North America.
A bold initiative
The Western New York Land Conservancy is leading an effort to create the WNY Wildway, an ambitious long-term plan to protect and connect the largest of their region’s remaining forests. The Wildway will connect the vast forests of northern Pennsylvania to the Great lakes, through to the Finger Lakes, the Adirondacks, and beyond. It will form part of the Eastern Wildway which runs all the way from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Wildway will allow plants and animals to roam across the land as they once did, to move as climate changes, and to expand their ranges and ensure their survival. It will allow wildlife that have disappeared from their region to return home.
You can learn more, and perhaps draw inspiration for your own region, by viewing their “story map” which provides images as well as text to convey the challenges and solutions.
Climate change presents a mismatch for songbirds’ breeding season
Spring is the sweet spot for breeding songbirds in California’s Central Valley — not too hot, not too wet. But climate change models indicate the region will experience more rainfall during the breeding season, and days of extreme heat are expected to increase. Both changes threaten the reproductive success of songbirds, according to a study from the University of California, Davis…
The science of solar-pollinator habitat: a fact sheet
Land trusts and community groups can help their communities understand how the design, implementation, and management of solar fields can work to enhance biodiversity and pollinators as well as farming and ranching. In this case, a recent fact sheet by the AgriSolar Clearinghouse provides useful information share.
Climate change threatens the Great Plains, but bison may hold a key to resilience
“The 8,600-acre Konza Prairie Biological Station where Kansas State conducts its bison research lies in the Flint Hills, North America’s biggest remaining stretch of tallgrass prairie.
Once one of North America’s major ecosystems — covering large swaths of the Great Plains from what is today central Texas to south-central Canada — settlers and their descendants destroyed more than 95% of the continent’s tallgrass prairie for cropland and other development. Tallgrass in the Flint Hills escaped the plow only because the region’s shallow soil and rocky layers made farming less practicable there…
Bison act and eat differently than cattle do, though biologists say not all the differences are clear yet. Few studies compare these two bovine herbivores side by side.
Still, a few differences jump out. The bigger species not only eats more grass, it also spends less time along streams than cattle do and more time on hilltops…”
Cattle may not boost plant biodiversity on the prairie as much as bison do, but The Nature Conservancy thinks it’s possible to manage them in ways that support healthier grassland.
They are working with a Flint Hills cattle rancher near Strong City in Kansas, along with Kansas State scientists, to see how fitting a herd with GPS collars might help….
Biodiversity safeguards bird communities under a changing climate
Community-level diversity works as a buffer against negative climate change impacts, especially during winter, i.e the season that has shown strongest climatic warming across the Northern Hemisphere.
On the other hand, biodiversity played a smaller role during the breeding season. Indeed, earlier studies have shown that bird communities change faster during winter than summer, which explains this pattern…
Climate change, habitat loss (and, yes, even cats) pose a greater threat to birds than windmills
Research quantifying the full scale of wind turbine activity’s impact upon birds both through their migratory patterns and killed by collision with wind turbines is a matter of current scientific studies. It is important to quantify these impacts, but it is also important to acknowledge that these impacts are certainly negligible compared to other drivers of bird mortality.
The number of birds killed by wind turbine collisions per year is estimated to be between 150,000 and 500,000, but when you put this number in perspective, it pales in comparison to other causes of bird mortality…