Disentangling the Relative Importance of Changes in Climate and Land-Use Intensity in Driving Recent Bird Population TrendsReport as inadecuate




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Threats to biodiversity resulting from habitat destruction and deterioration have been documented for many species, whilst climate change is regarded as increasingly impacting upon species- distribution and abundance. However, few studies have disentangled the relative importance of these two drivers in causing recent population declines. We quantify the relative importance of both processes by modelling annual variation in population growth of 18 farmland bird species in the UK as a function of measures of land-use intensity and weather. Modelled together, both had similar explanatory power in accounting for annual fluctuations in population growth. When these models were used to retrodict population trends for each species as a function of annual variation in land-use intensity and weather combined, and separately, retrodictions incorporating land-use intensity were more closely linked to observed population trends than retrodictions based only on weather, and closely matched the UK farmland bird index from 1970 onwards. Despite more stable land-use intensity in recent years, climate change inferred from weather trends has not overtaken land-use intensity as the dominant driver of bird populations.



Author: Sarah M. Eglington, James W. Pearce-Higgins

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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