Biodiv Sci ›› 2012, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (1): 108-115.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2012.08152

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The impact of climate change on birds: a review

Weiwei Wu1, Haigen Xu2,*(), Jun Wu2, Mingchang Cao2   

  1. 1 College of Life Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210046
    2 Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Nanjing 210042
  • Received:2011-08-29 Accepted:2011-11-01 Online:2012-01-20 Published:2012-02-14
  • Contact: Haigen Xu


The impact of climate change on biodiversity has become a hot issue. This paper reviews the effects of climate change on avian distribution, phenology and population dynamics according to the results of the latest research. Due to climate change, bird distributions have shifted towards high-latitude and high-altitude areas, which is changing more quickly than before. However, the breeding area which bird lived was changed different from the non-breedings. In addition, the ranges of many species have decreased, the timing of oviposition and migration have become more variable, and populations of many species have declined. We also summarize the major methods used to forecast the effects of future climate scenarios on birds, and discuss how evolution, biotic interactions and dispersal ability affect the results of predictions. We found that more and more scientists using the integrated models than the single ones nowadays, a new advice using the mechanistic models has been proved well, and evolution has become a big problem for the prediction from the latest researches. The suggestions are as follows: (1) a system of avian protection should be established as soon as possible in China. (2) people should devise and evaluate some models in research work.

Key words: climate change, birds, distribution, phenology, population