Home Science Climate change causes birds movement, but uncertain effects on biodiversity

Climate change causes birds movement, but uncertain effects on biodiversity


Climate change and its impact on birds may be way complicated than assumed, and this is evident in recent findings from a survey of Finnish species. Many studies have shown that global warming poses a great threat to biodiversity.

A survey in a European context proposes that there will be a significant move of bird species northwards in the coming years. The shift will be in response to temperature as those in southern latitudes shift range according to history.

The higher latitudes are expected to witness the increased number of species – species richness. A research analyzing a 35-year data of bird species and number distribution in Finland advocates the first contention but doesn’t support the second.

The study in Helsinki

Aleksi Lehikoinen and Raimo Virkkala from the Finnish Museum of Natural History and the Natural Environment Centre respectively, both in Helsinki, studied two different bird mapping data that covers all 235 species with origin from Helsinki. The mapping data covered 1,100 kilometers wide with 300,000 square kilometers.

The first set of data was compiled between 1974 and 1989, and the second data set was between 2006 and 2010, and both studies made use of a ten kilometer-square grids. The researchers observed that all the mapped species had altered ranges except one. Some 35% had dropped, and 37% increased their presence.

Migratory bird species dominated less territory, and non-migratory birds were seen to have enlarged their ranges. Virkkala and Lehikoinen said that the reduced migratory bird range was analogous with the identified decline in a population of long-distance migrants in Europe as a whole.

While scales enlarged or enclosed, the overall species richness didn’t change, depending on the bird. The dynamism makes the effects of global warming on species distribution and number complex in human activities geared by the same stimulus.

According to the scientists, the result indicates there is an ongoing species change caused by climate change and other human influence that is direct. They also said the alterations in avian species in the Finland might be harbingers of a very long time changes in ecosystems.

The scientists say much bird species turnover seen in northern Europe may alter the functional diversity of species habitat.