Curbing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Will Reduce Future California Bird Loss

by William B. Monahan and Gary Langham

Up to 110 of 310 California native bird species will experience significant reductions in their geographic range in the next several decades due to climate change, according to new research from Audubon California. These reductions will be part of massive range shifts to all of the state's bird species caused wholly or in part by the effects of climate change.

Models produced by Audubon California indicate that the magnitude of losses in California depends in large part to the steps we take now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide a roadmap for ensuring that the conservation investments we make today have maximum value in an environment that is seeing major shifts due to climate change.

Audubon California built its findings by combining 40 years of data compiled by volunteers in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count with Breeding Bird Survey information and geographic climate data. As a result they have been able to create predictive models for 310 California species under different climate change mitigation scenarios.

Not only do these results show the potential benefits of aggressive action to mitigate the effects of climate change, but they also should prompt policymakers and land managers to better plan investments habitat conservation.

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