Collapse of an avifauna: climate change appears to exacerbate habitat loss and degradation

Ralph MAC NALLY, Andrew Bennett, Jim THOMSON, J. Q. Radford, Guy Unmack, Gregory Horrocks, Peter Vesk

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    130 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Aim We characterized changes in reporting rates and abundances of bird species over a period of severe rainfall deficiency and increasing average temperatures. We also measured flowering in eucalypts, which support large numbers of nectarivores characteristic of the region. Location A 30,000-km2 region of northern Victoria, Australia, consisting of limited amounts of remnant native woodlands embedded in largely agricultural landscapes. Methods There were three sets of monitoring studies, pitched at regional (survey programmes in 1995–97, 2004–05 and 2006–08), landscape (2002–03 and 2006–07) and site (1997–2008 continuously) scales. Bird survey techniques used a standard 2-ha, 20-min count method. We used Bayesian analyses of reporting rates to document statistically changes in the avifauna through time at each spatial scale. Results Bird populations in the largest remnants of native vegetation (up to 40,000 ha), some of which have been declared as national parks in the past decade, experienced similar declines to those in heavily cleared landscapes. All categories of birds (guilds based on foraging substrate, diet, nest site; relative mobility; geographical distributions) were affected similarly. We detected virtually no bird breeding in the latest survey periods. Eucalypt flowering has declined significantly over the past 12 years of drought. Main conclusions Declines in the largest woodland remnants commensurate with those in cleared landscapes suggest that reserve systems may not be relied upon to sustain species under climate change. We attribute population declines to low breeding success due to reduced food. Resilience of bird populations in this woodland system might be increased by active management to enhance habitat quality in existing vegetation and restoration of woodland in the more fertile parts of landscapes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)720-730
    Number of pages11
    JournalDiversity and Distributions
    Volume15
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Fingerprint

    avifauna
    habitat loss
    habitat destruction
    woodland
    climate change
    bird
    degradation
    woodlands
    birds
    flowering
    vegetation
    nest site
    population decline
    Victoria (Australia)
    habitat quality
    guild
    geographical distribution
    reproductive success
    nectar feeding
    national park

    Cite this

    MAC NALLY, Ralph ; Bennett, Andrew ; THOMSON, Jim ; Radford, J. Q. ; Unmack, Guy ; Horrocks, Gregory ; Vesk, Peter. / Collapse of an avifauna: climate change appears to exacerbate habitat loss and degradation. In: Diversity and Distributions. 2009 ; Vol. 15. pp. 720-730.
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    abstract = "Aim We characterized changes in reporting rates and abundances of bird species over a period of severe rainfall deficiency and increasing average temperatures. We also measured flowering in eucalypts, which support large numbers of nectarivores characteristic of the region. Location A 30,000-km2 region of northern Victoria, Australia, consisting of limited amounts of remnant native woodlands embedded in largely agricultural landscapes. Methods There were three sets of monitoring studies, pitched at regional (survey programmes in 1995–97, 2004–05 and 2006–08), landscape (2002–03 and 2006–07) and site (1997–2008 continuously) scales. Bird survey techniques used a standard 2-ha, 20-min count method. We used Bayesian analyses of reporting rates to document statistically changes in the avifauna through time at each spatial scale. Results Bird populations in the largest remnants of native vegetation (up to 40,000 ha), some of which have been declared as national parks in the past decade, experienced similar declines to those in heavily cleared landscapes. All categories of birds (guilds based on foraging substrate, diet, nest site; relative mobility; geographical distributions) were affected similarly. We detected virtually no bird breeding in the latest survey periods. Eucalypt flowering has declined significantly over the past 12 years of drought. Main conclusions Declines in the largest woodland remnants commensurate with those in cleared landscapes suggest that reserve systems may not be relied upon to sustain species under climate change. We attribute population declines to low breeding success due to reduced food. Resilience of bird populations in this woodland system might be increased by active management to enhance habitat quality in existing vegetation and restoration of woodland in the more fertile parts of landscapes.",
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    Collapse of an avifauna: climate change appears to exacerbate habitat loss and degradation. / MAC NALLY, Ralph; Bennett, Andrew; THOMSON, Jim; Radford, J. Q.; Unmack, Guy; Horrocks, Gregory; Vesk, Peter.

    In: Diversity and Distributions, Vol. 15, 2009, p. 720-730.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Collapse of an avifauna: climate change appears to exacerbate habitat loss and degradation

    AU - MAC NALLY, Ralph

    AU - Bennett, Andrew

    AU - THOMSON, Jim

    AU - Radford, J. Q.

    AU - Unmack, Guy

    AU - Horrocks, Gregory

    AU - Vesk, Peter

    PY - 2009

    Y1 - 2009

    N2 - Aim We characterized changes in reporting rates and abundances of bird species over a period of severe rainfall deficiency and increasing average temperatures. We also measured flowering in eucalypts, which support large numbers of nectarivores characteristic of the region. Location A 30,000-km2 region of northern Victoria, Australia, consisting of limited amounts of remnant native woodlands embedded in largely agricultural landscapes. Methods There were three sets of monitoring studies, pitched at regional (survey programmes in 1995–97, 2004–05 and 2006–08), landscape (2002–03 and 2006–07) and site (1997–2008 continuously) scales. Bird survey techniques used a standard 2-ha, 20-min count method. We used Bayesian analyses of reporting rates to document statistically changes in the avifauna through time at each spatial scale. Results Bird populations in the largest remnants of native vegetation (up to 40,000 ha), some of which have been declared as national parks in the past decade, experienced similar declines to those in heavily cleared landscapes. All categories of birds (guilds based on foraging substrate, diet, nest site; relative mobility; geographical distributions) were affected similarly. We detected virtually no bird breeding in the latest survey periods. Eucalypt flowering has declined significantly over the past 12 years of drought. Main conclusions Declines in the largest woodland remnants commensurate with those in cleared landscapes suggest that reserve systems may not be relied upon to sustain species under climate change. We attribute population declines to low breeding success due to reduced food. Resilience of bird populations in this woodland system might be increased by active management to enhance habitat quality in existing vegetation and restoration of woodland in the more fertile parts of landscapes.

    AB - Aim We characterized changes in reporting rates and abundances of bird species over a period of severe rainfall deficiency and increasing average temperatures. We also measured flowering in eucalypts, which support large numbers of nectarivores characteristic of the region. Location A 30,000-km2 region of northern Victoria, Australia, consisting of limited amounts of remnant native woodlands embedded in largely agricultural landscapes. Methods There were three sets of monitoring studies, pitched at regional (survey programmes in 1995–97, 2004–05 and 2006–08), landscape (2002–03 and 2006–07) and site (1997–2008 continuously) scales. Bird survey techniques used a standard 2-ha, 20-min count method. We used Bayesian analyses of reporting rates to document statistically changes in the avifauna through time at each spatial scale. Results Bird populations in the largest remnants of native vegetation (up to 40,000 ha), some of which have been declared as national parks in the past decade, experienced similar declines to those in heavily cleared landscapes. All categories of birds (guilds based on foraging substrate, diet, nest site; relative mobility; geographical distributions) were affected similarly. We detected virtually no bird breeding in the latest survey periods. Eucalypt flowering has declined significantly over the past 12 years of drought. Main conclusions Declines in the largest woodland remnants commensurate with those in cleared landscapes suggest that reserve systems may not be relied upon to sustain species under climate change. We attribute population declines to low breeding success due to reduced food. Resilience of bird populations in this woodland system might be increased by active management to enhance habitat quality in existing vegetation and restoration of woodland in the more fertile parts of landscapes.

    KW - Australia

    KW - birds

    KW - breeding failure

    KW - drought

    KW - eucalypt woodlands

    KW - flowering.

    U2 - 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2009.00578.x

    DO - 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2009.00578.x

    M3 - Article

    VL - 15

    SP - 720

    EP - 730

    JO - Diversity and Distributions

    JF - Diversity and Distributions

    SN - 1366-9516

    ER -