Long-term changes in populations of rainforest birds in the Australia Wet Tropics bioregion: a climate-driven biodiversity emergency

Williams, Stephen E., and de la Fuente Pinero, Alejandro (2021) Long-term changes in populations of rainforest birds in the Australia Wet Tropics bioregion: a climate-driven biodiversity emergency. PLoS ONE, 16 (12). e0254307.

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Abstract

Many authors have suggested that the vulnerability of montane biodiversity to climate change worldwide is significantly higher than in most other ecosystems. Despite the extensive variety of studies predicting severe impacts of climate change globally, few studies have empirically validated the predicted changes in distribution and population density. Here, we used 17 years (2000–2016) of standardised bird monitoring across latitudinal/elevational gradients in the rainforest of the Australian Wet Tropics World Heritage Area to assess changes in local abundance and elevational distribution. We used relative abundance in 1977 surveys across 114 sites ranging from 0-1500m above sea level and utilised a trend analysis approach (TRIM) to investigate elevational shifts in abundance of 42 species. The local abundance of most mid and high elevation species has declined at the lower edges of their distribution by >40% while lowland species increased by up to 190% into higher elevation areas. Upland-specialised species and regional endemics have undergone dramatic population declines of almost 50%. The “Outstanding Universal Value” of the Australian Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, one of the most irreplaceable biodiversity hotspots on Earth, is rapidly degrading. These observed impacts are likely to be similar in many tropical montane ecosystems globally.

Item ID: 72835
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Copyright Information: © 2021 Williams, Fuente. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Research Data: https://doi.org/10.25903/3tmd-sw18
Date Deposited: 10 May 2022 01:05
Downloads: Total: 46
Last 12 Months: 46
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