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Changes in climate and land cover affecting European migratory bird populations

Source: phys.org

A new study led by the Department of Biosciences at Durham University, UK, is the first large-scale assessment of how recent changes in both climate and land cover have impacted populations of migrating birds.

Global declines in the numbers of individuals of many migratory species are thought to be caused by a combination of climate change and habitat loss on both their breeding and non-breeding grounds, as well as changes to areas they use to refuel whilst on migration. Understanding of which factors are key in causing recent declines, and in which areas changes are having most impact, remains poor.

Using data on the long-term population trends of 61 short- and 39 long-distance European breeding migratory birds, the researchers related changes in climate and land cover across their breeding and non-breeding grounds over a 36-year period to their population trends. MORE

Header image: Philip Stephens.