Deforestation and climate change threaten birds in tropical montane forests

Yellow-necked Fulvetta

The tropical mountain forests they are critical habitats for biodiversity and endemic species and face a range of species threats related to human activity, incl deforestation Hello climate change. In a new 10-year study, a team of researchers analyzed the effect of these two phenomena on community of mountain birds. The results of the research were published on Global ecology and conservation.

Tropical mountain forests with an altitude of approx 150-200 m to 3,500 m above sea level, they are unique ecosystems and appear as key centers for biodiversity. “Each species in tropical mountains occupies a specific niche and creates extraordinary diversity in limited spaces,” explains Ritobroto Chanda, a former fellow at the Center for Ecological Sciences (CES) in India and lead author of the study.

However, loss of these ecosystems and climate change seriously threaten these environments and their inhabitants. “The birds tropical mountain ranges are extremely sensitive to temperature and respond quickly to global warming. Furthermore, most of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity is concentrated in tropical mountains, so the decline of biodiversity in this area creates damage consistent at a global level,” says Umesh Srinivasan, professor at CES. Despite this, there are still few studies that have examined the combined impact of these threats.

For this reason, the team of researchers devoted 10 years to study Iimpacts of climate change and deforestation about bird communities in a specific area. The researchers collected data from the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. This sanctuary it is home to more than 500 species of birds and was exposed to a significant deforestation by 2002. Deforested areas have significant differences from intact forests, making them an ideal place to study environmental effects on bird communities.

Every day, by appointment sewing to capture and ring the birds, the team checked them every 20-30 minutes, then weighed and marked captured individuals by their immediate release. This is a very widespread bird study technique that we have shown you directly in the field together with ornithologists in one of our Kodami Trails.

of 6,189 individuals circled belonging to 130 different speciesthe final analysis included well 4,801 understory insectivores they belong to about 61 species, which is essential for study because they have well-defined niches and because they are often negatively affected by deforestation shows a strong decline in numbers. And the results show that many species are migrating to higher altitudes in response to rising temperatures.

However, this phenomenon is affected not only by climate change, but also by deforestation deforested areas present, present higher average temperatures and lower humidity than intact forests. Furthermore, it appears that birds from smaller dimensions they colonize such environments more easily because they are able tolerate higher temperatures and require less food, while an increase in larger bird species is observed in primary forests.

The data therefore highlight the critical importance preserve primary forests effectively implement climate change mitigation strategies. Srinivasan says those who manage mining operations must ensure protection forests across large elevation gradients. This approach will allow species to more easily adapt to climate change by shifting their ranges to higher altitudes and canning thus their survival. Instead, it could lead to an encounter with degraded woods during this move to extinction local species, which emphasizes the need for careful and sustainable management of forest resources.

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